Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard) Dreaming MB037005-Violet Petyarre

Acrylic on Linen
90 x 90cm
Year Painted


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Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard) Dreaming MB037005-Violet Petyarre

The curvilinear pattern throughout Violet's painting represents the skin on the back of Arnkerrthe, the Mountain Devil Lizard, and also Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs) for the Arnkerrthe Dreamtime story. This story belongs to the people from Atnangkere and Alhalkere country in the Utopia region, northeast of Alice Springs.

The women smear their bodies with animal fat then trace these patterns onto their breasts, arms and thighs; singing as each woman takes her turn to be 'paintedup'. Their songs relate to the ancestral travels of the Mountain Devil Lizard as it makes the long journey north to Waramugu country, carrying the ochre for body paint in the small sac on the back of its neck.

The Mountain Devil Lizard has the ability to camouflage itself by changing colours. This is represented in this painting by the various colours Violet uses. The traditional colours used for ceremony are ochre red, yellow and white.
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