Aboriginal artist Gloria Petyarre was in 1999 announced (Winner) of the highly prestigious Australian ‘Wynne Prize’ for Best Australian Landscape Painting titled “Leaves.” The most esteemed Wynne, Archibald and Sulman Prizes are annual exhibitions eagerly anticipated by artists and audiences alike.
In 2004 she was “Highly Commended” for the same coveted award. So began the fascination for this beautiful style of Indigenous art work.
Gloria was the first female Aboriginal artist to win a major award of the Gallery of NSW. Although Gloria Petyarre is said (and is most likely) to have pioneered this bush leaf style, Jeannie Petyarre, her cousin has also laid claim to this technique.
Whoever of the cousins was the creator of this style we may never know exactly but what we do recognize is that both artists are exceptional at delivering this style of painting although they do differ to the trained eye.
The leaves are painted in a flowing, swirling style which appears to be moving on the canvas, as if blowing in the wind.
The swirling brush stroke of each leaf is very fine in a dense pattern of thousands which looks absolutely spectacular in populous abundance.
Gloria Petyarre is one of the seven well known Petyarre sister artists from the Utopia Region (Ada, Myrtle, Nancy, Kathleen, Violet and Jean Petyarre).
Gloria Petyarre is the most famous of this style but numerous other family members also now paint bush medicine leaf paintings. They vary in style on the original theme but still apply the same brush stroke design.
Other Aboriginal artists who produce Medicine Leaf paintings are all related to Jeannie and Gloria Petyarre being sisters, daughters, granddaughters and nieces.
They are: Rosemary Petyarre, Dulcie Long Pula, Mary Rumble Petyarre, Margaret Scobie, Louise Numina, Caroline Numina Panaka, Fabrianne Peterson, Selina Numina, Abie Loy Kemarre and Janet Golder Kngwarreye.