Born: c. 1930
Language Group: Anmatyerre
Country: Atnangkere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Batik on Silk
Subjects: Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard), Awelye (Women's Ceremonial Body Paint Designs), Akatyerre (Bush Tomato)
Myrtle Petyarre is sister to Ada, Gloria, Nancy, Kathleen, Violet and Jean Petyarre. Like her sisters, Myrtle paints Mountain Devil Lizard Arnkerrthe which is one of the dreamings from Atnangkere and Alhalkere country.
Myrtle was involved with the Utopia Women's Batik group since its inception in the early 70's. Her work is represented in 'A Picture Story' a project initiated by CAAMA in the late 80's. She began painting on canvas in 1988 with CAAMA's Summer Project.
She is known for her bold linear patterns, illustrating body paint designs for the Mountain Devil Lizard Story.
The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
University of Queensland, Anthropology Museum, St Lucia
|1984||The First National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin|
|1985||The Second National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin|
|1986||The Third National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin|
|1988||The Fifth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin|
|1989||Utopia Women's Paintings, the First Works On Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988-89, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney|
|1990||Utopia A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Holmes á Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Eire and Scotland|
|1991||The Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin|
|1992||Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs|
|1994||Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs|
|2001||Mountain Devil Lizard Arnkerrthe, Myrtle Petyarre, Nancy Petyarre and Violet Petyarre, July Exhibition: Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs|
|2001||Seven Sisters Petyarre: Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane|
|2002||Seven Sisters, Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Sydney|
|2002||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery' Portland OR; Urban Wine Works, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR|
|2003||Seven Sisters, Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Sydney|
|2003||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: New City Merchants, Knoxville TN; Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery', Portland OR; Contemporary Aboriginal Art Event, Umpqua Bank, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR; Art From The Dreamtime, Portland Art Museum, Portland OR|
|2004||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Greenwich, Connecticut|
|2004||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill|
|2005||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill|
|2005||'Small Wonders', Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT|
|2006||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill|
|Brody, A.||1989, Utopia Women's Paintings: the First Work on Canvas, A Summer Project 1988-89., cat., Heytesbury Holdings, Perth|
|Brody, A.||1990 Utopia, a Picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes á Court Collection, Heytesbury Holdings Ltd Perth|
|Desart||the Aboriginal art centres of Central Australia, 2000, Putting in the Colour Contemporary Aboriginal Textiles, Jukurrpa Books (IAD Press) ©2000|
The curvilinear pattern throughout Myrtle's painting represents 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. Powders ground from red and yellow ochre (clays), charcoal and ash are used as body paint and applied with a flat stick with soft padding. The women sing as each woman takes her turn to be 'painted-up'. 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. The traditional colours used for ceremony are ochre red, yellow and white.