Language Group: Anmatyerre
Country: Atnangkere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas, Linen and Paper, Batik on Silk
Subjects: Leaves, Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs), Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard), Alpeyt (Wild Flowers), Ntyerrm (Seed of the Dogwood Tree), Ntang (Seed)
Gloria Petyarre has participated in both group and solo exhibitions since the 1980's. She has travelled to Ireland, London, Paris, USA, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries exhibiting her works. Her work is included in the collections of the Australian National State Galleries including the National Gallery of Australia, also the Powerhouse Museum Sydney, Westpac New York, Holmes á Court and many other private collections. In 1999 Gloria won the prestigious art award, the Wynne Prize, for the Best Australian Landscape.
Gloria first gained recognition in silk batik which began at Utopia in 1978 with exhibitions held nationally and internationally. In 1988 Gloria was part of the very first group to experiment with canvas, called the Summer Project, and Gloria has since continued to work in this medium.
Awelye, the women's ceremonial body paint designs, was the subject of Gloria's very first painting, she recalls. Over the years Gloria has applied many methods of enhancing the simple linear work in her Awelye paintings, including using sponges, hand work and a toilet brush.
One of Gloria's most important Dreamtime stories is that of Arnkerrthe, the Mountain Devil Lizard. Arnkerrthe travelled over Gloria's land creating all of the people, sacred sites, songs and other Dreamtime stories. In its neck it holds a sac of ochre that Gloria and her people use for ceremonies. Gloria has developed a very popular style for Arnkerrthe Dreaming that she calls the 'swirly ones'. A unique design by Gloria, these swirls represent the thorny skin on the back of this gentle little lizard.
By far the most well known of all Gloria's paintings is Leaves. In April 1994 at Mosquito Bore in Utopia, Gloria began doing something new on her canvas.
'That first one. I was looking, looking. Looks like leaf, and I been put another one and another one and 'ah yeah'. First leaf.' (Gloria Petyarre).
This painting can be viewed in the Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum. Throughout the years this design has become more refined, leaves aren't just scattered on the ground but rather picked up in swift passing zephyrs, entangled in whirls of wind and swept across the landscape. This life energy attributed to the success of Leaves, winning Gloria the very prestigious Wynne Prize in 1999, and highly recommended in 2004. The Wynne prize is awarded annually for the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or for the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists. Gloria became the first Australian artist commissioned by Hermes, the international fashion brand based in Paris. Gloria's Leaves design was selected by Hermes for their 2009 collection and was released internationally. The design features on Hermes' silk scarves as one of its spring/summer 2009 collection with the theme 'Invitation to travel'. Gloria's design was titled 'Le Reve de Gloria' which means 'Gloria's dreaming'.
Awards, Acquisitions and Accolades
|1995||Recipient of a Fellowship Grant from the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council|
|1999||Winner of the Wynne Prize for the Best Australian Landscape Painting|
|2004||Highly Commended, Wynne Prize for Best Australian Landscape Painting|
|2008||Centrefold, Mbantua Gallery and Cultural Museum Newsletter, Issue 21 January 2008|
Allen, Allen & Hemsley
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
British Museum, London
Campbelltown City Art Gallery
Flinders University, South Australia
Griffith University Collection
Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Surfers Paradise
The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Queensland University of Technology
Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
Supreme Court, Brisbane
University of New South Wales, Sydney
University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford U.S.A
Westpac, New York
Wollongong City Art Gallery
Exhibitions (From 2005)
|2005||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs|
|2006||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs|
|2007||Patterns of Power, Art from the Eastern Desert, Simmer on the Bay, Sydney|
|2010||DACOU Gallery, Melbourne, VIC|
|2014||Narrativa Herióca - Pintura Aborígine do Deserto Australiano - Renaissance Hotel, São Paulo, Brazil|
|2014||Arca Urbana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|2017||'Into Abstraction II: Interconnections', Macquarie University Art Gallery, NSW|
|Stanislawsk-Birnberg, M.||1990, Journeylines©|
|Morphy, H.||1998, Aboriginal Art, Published Phaidon ©|
|Isaacs, J.||1999, Spirit Country, Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, Hardie Grant Books ©|
|Desart, Art Centres of Central Australia||2000, Putting in the Colour Contemporary Aboriginal Textiles, Jukurrpa Books (IAD Press) ©|
|Brody, A.||1989 Utopia Women's Paintings The First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project 1988-89, exhib.cat., Heytesbury Holdings, Perth.|
|Brody, A.||1990, Utopia: a Picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection|
The pattern throughout this painting represents the thorny skin of the Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard). The Arnkerrthe is a gentle little lizard that is covered in thorns. For added protection it is able to camouflage itself by changing its skin colour with its surroundings. The changing of skin colour is represented, Gloria says, by the colours used; red and black are Arnkerrthe at night time and yellow and white are Arnkerrthe at day time.
The Arnkerrthe is very sacred to Gloria and the people of Atnangkere country. In the Dreamtime, the Arnkerrthe travelled over Gloria's land creating all of the people, sacred sites, songs and other Dreamtime stories.
'Little lizard put the stories for we mob, for man and woman' (Gloria Petyarre).
In its neck it holds a sac of ochre that Gloria and her people use for ceremonies. The women smear their bodies with animal fat then trace designs onto their breasts, arms and thighs with this ochre; singing as each woman takes her turn to be 'painted-up' for ceremony. Their songs relate to the ancestral travels of the Arnkerrthe as it makes the long journey north to Waramungu country. The main colours used for this ceremony are ochre red and ochre yellow.