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Kathleen Petyarre


Kathleen Petyarre


Kathleen Petyarre


Kathleen Petyarre






b. 1940


Kathleen Petyarre was born circa 1940, at the remote location of Atnangkere, an important water soakage for Aboriginal people on the western boundary of Utopia Station, 150 miles north-east of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia.Petyarre Sisters and Mem


Kathleen belongs to the Alyawarre / Eastern Anmatyerre clan and speaks Eastern Anmatyerre, with English as her second language. Kathleen, with her daughter Margaret and her sisters, settled at Mosquito Bore, on Utopia Station near her birthplace. Kathleen now spends part of the year at her residence in Adelaide. Kathleen's mother and seven sisters have managed to hold onto their land near Utopia Station as a group, establishing a camp at Atneltyeye Boundary Bore.


Kathleen was one of the key Anmatyerre women involved in the successful claim for the freehold title, which led to the 1979 formal hand-over of the Utopia pastoral lease back to its traditional owners.


Kathleen's inherited Dreaming stories from her father and mother are: Mountain Devil Lizard, or Thorny Devil Lizard (Arnkerrthe), Women Hunting Emu, and Dingo (Atnangkerre) and all of her paintings directly refer to these Dreamings and the associated country around Utopia in the eastern central desert of Australia.


A common theme of Kathleen's paintings refer to Arnkerrthe, Mountain or Thorny Devil Lizard, (Moloch horridus) a small lizard which has spikes on its back and lives in the desert, crossing vast terrain and changing colour according to its environment like a true chameleon. The enormity of his journeys can be felt in the landscape of Kathleen's works.


This important clan country serves not only as a creation site, but a sacred place in which to reconnect with the Dreaming through ceremony, and in particular, initiation rites.


Kathleen continues to demonstrate her detailed, accurate knowledge and respect of country through her remarkable paintings that in turn give the viewer an insight into an ancient other world of endless beauty.



1996 Joint Second Prize, Open Award Category - The Third National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Heritage Commission Art Award, Canberra, ACT, Australia

1996 Overall Winner of the Telstra 13th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, NT, Australia

1997 Overall Winner of the Visy Board Art Prize, the Barossa Vintage Festival Art Show, Nurioopta, SA, Australia

1998 Finalist, 1998 Seppelts Contemporary Art Award - Visual Art Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1998 Winner, People's Choice Award, 1998 Seppelts Contemporary Art Award, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia



Kathleen Petyarre and Mem1997 Art Gallery of South Australia, Desert Artists-in-Residence, Adelaide, SA, Australia, January

1997 Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, June


Solo Exhibitions:

1996 Kathleen Petyarre - Storm in Aknangkerre Country Alcaston House Gallery, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

1998 Arnkerrthe - My Dreaming, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Vic., Australia, 24 July - 15 August.

1999 Recent Paintings by Kathleen Petyarre, Coo-ee Gallery, Mary Place, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 4 - 21 November.

2000 Landscape: Truth and Beauty, Recent Paintings by Kathleen Petyarre, Alcaston Gallery, November l 6th - December 6th

2000 Kathleen Petyarre, Retrospective Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW., 9th May - 22nd July.

2001 Genius of Place. The work of Kathleen Petyarre. Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia, May - 22nd July.


Group Exhibitions

2006 redrock gallery, Group Exhbition, Relocation Exhibition,South Yarra, Aust

2007 June redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, Gallery Grand Opening Beijing, P.R China

2007 July redrock gallery, Group Exhibition China World Exhibition Centre, Beijing P.R China

2007 Auguest redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, Grand Hyatt Hotel,Beijing, P.R China

2007 November redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, Internation Art Expo, Beijing, P.R China

       2008 July redrock gallery,Beijing, 2nd Gallery Opening, Group Exhibition,  Beijing, P.R China

       2008 November redrock gallery, Beijing: A Women’s Exhibition  Beijing, P.R China



1997 The John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Vic.,Australia.


Selected Collections:Kathleen Petyarre painting

• Paintings Collection of H. M. Queen Elizabeth 11 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT, Australia

• The Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth, WA, Australia

• The Museum & Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin, N., Australia

• Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia

• Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide, SA, Australia

• The Kluge-Rhue Collection, University of West Virginia, VA, USA

• The Kelton Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

• The Levi-Kaplan Collection, Seattle, WA, USA

• A.T.S.I.C. Collection, Adelaide, SA, Australia

• National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

• Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

• University of South Australia Art Museum, Adelaide, SA, Australia

• Riddoch Regional Art Gallery, Mount Gambier, SA, Australia

• Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia

• Collection de Musee des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie, Paris, France

• Peabody - Essex Anthropology and Ethnology Museum, Harvard University, Salem, MASS, USA - Prints & Wood-blocks

• The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT, Australia

• Museum & Art Galleries of the NT, Darwin, NT, Australia

• The Robert Holmes a Court Collection, WA, Australia

• Mem Aziz Collection, Melbourne

• National Gallery of Victoria, VIC, Australia - Works on Permanent Loan

• 1996 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA, USA

• The Art Gallery of Western Australian, Perth, WA, Australia


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