Nancy Kunoth Petyarre


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Born: c. 1934

Deceased: 2009

Language Group: Anmatyerre

Country: Atnangkere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Batik on Silk and Cotton

Subjects: Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard), Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs), Bush Medicines, Grasses

Nancy was the second eldest of the 'seven famous Petyarre sisters' from the Utopia region. She shared the story of Arnkerrthe, the Mountain Devil Lizard, with her sisters and each had their unique way of painting it. Nancy was most well known as an artist for her fine dot designs representing the skin on the back of this gentle creature.

Nancy was not a prolific artist and earned immense respect in the industry from her passion and dedication for painting which also reflected her personality. In the latter years of her life, Nancy painted very few paintings and turned to some linear work for more ease. Initially, Nancy was part of the original group of women to participate in batik workshops and her work in this is represented in the Robert Holmes á Court collection. Her artwork is also in collection at the National Gallery of Australia.

Nancy passed away peacefully at Utopia in August 2009 after suffering a stroke in Alice Springs. She requested to be buried next to Emily Kame Kngwarreye in a little known spot along the Sandover Highway.

Collections

Edith Cowan University - University Art Collection, Perth

Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth

Exhibitions

1989 Aboriginal Art, The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
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
1992 Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1993 Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1994 Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1994 Central Australian Aboriginal Arts and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1994 Yapakurlangu Wirrkardu, Bachelor College, Tennant Creek, NT
1999 June-August, 'Caring for Country – Artists of Utopia', Tandanya, S.A
2001 Mountain Devil Lizard – Arnkerrthe, Myrtle Petyarre, Nancy Petyarre and Violet Petyarre, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs
2001 Seven Sisters Petyarre: Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane
2002 Redback Art Utopia Women
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: Portland, Nashville, Knoxville and Hartford
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

Further References

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 ©