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Kathleen Petyarre / My Country – Bush Seeds (BCS107) (Balance)


154cm x 137cm Acrylic on Canvas, 2009

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154cm x 137cm Acrylic on Canvas, 2009


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Artist Profile

c.1938 – 2018

Kathleen Petyarre was born in c.1938 at Utopia, north-east of Alice Springs in Central Australia. She is one of the famous Petyarre sisters, a group of seven sisters who became celebrated Indigenous artists (her sisters were Gloria Petyarre, Ada Bird Petyarre, Myrtle Petyarre, Nancy Kunoth Petyarre, Violet Petyarre and Jean Petyarre). Kathleen is from Atnangkere, an important water soakage found in the Utopia region in Central Australia and is from the Anmatyerre and Alyawarre language groups.

Kathleen was introduced to modern art mediums during a community project held at Utopia in 1977 which introduced the women of Utopia to silk batiks. This was such a great success that the silk batiks were exhibited around Australia and through Eire and Scotland. The whole collection of 88 silk batiks was later acquired by the Holmes a Court Collection. In 1988-1989 a further community project was held at Utopia where the women were introduced to acrylic paints and canvas, for many, this was just the right platform and an explosion of creativity ensued.

Kathleen’s artwork directly relates to her country and Dreamings which include women hunting, emu, dingo and mountain devil lizard. She is most well known for her paintings titled “Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming” and “My Country – Bush Seeds”. She typically uses traditional colours such as white, black and various hues of brown. Her paintings are minimalist and completed by layering and very intricate and precise dotting.

In 1996 Kathleen was awarded as the overall winner of Australia’s most prestigious art award in the 13th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. That same year she was also awarded the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Commission Art Award at their 3rd presentation.

Through 1997 and 1998 Kathleen was further recognised for her talent and won several other awards, she was also a finalist in the 15th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Kathleen has a reputation as one of the most original Indigenous artists and the collectability of her paintings is confirmed by her status within the 40 most collectable Aboriginal artists of all time. Her paintings are regularly featured in national and international exhibitions through highly esteemed galleries and museums. Her artworks including her silk batiks are held in several collections worldwide.

In 2001 a book titled “Genius of Place” sharing the story of Kathleen Petyarre coincided with a solo exhibition of her paintings with the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Sydney. In this book Kathleen shares a detailed explanation of her Dreaming stories and the basis for her paintings.

Kathleen Petyarre is one of Australia’s most sought-after Aboriginal artists, she has been repeatedly nominated by the Australian Art Collector Magazine as being among the “Top 50 Most Collectable Artists in Australia” and the Australian Indigenous Art Market considers her the 34th most collectable artist.

Kathleen Petyarre is the mother to well known artist Margaret Loy Pula and grandmother to Abie Loy Kemarre. Sadly, Kathleen passed away in November 2018.  

Selected Collections
• 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, NT., Australia. 
• Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, S.A. Australia. 
• Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide, S.A. 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, S.A. Australia. 
• National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Vic. Australia. 
• Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. 
• University of South Australia Art Museum, Adelaide, S.A. Australia. 
• Riddoch Regional Art Gallery, Mount Gambier, S.A. Australia. 
• Edith Cowan University, Perth, W.A. Australia. 
• Collection de Musee des Arts d’Afrique et d’Oceanie, Paris, France. 
• Peabody – Essex Anthropology and Ethnology Museum, Harvard University, Salem, Mass., USA. 

Artwork Description

My Country – Bush Seeds represents an aerial view composition of Kathleen’s scared dreaming site of Mountain Devil Lizard in the vicinity of Mosquito Bore on Utopia Station in the Eastern Desert of Central Australia. It is here on the site of the Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming that the men and women of the Eastern Anmatyerre language conduct important secret and sacred initiation ceremonies. This Dreaming site is situated in the artist’s father’s country and the general locality is identified by a group of sand hills that rise majestically from the desert floor represented in the painting by the prominent parallel lines. The painting portrays the area scattered with seeds, summer bush flowers and Spinifex grasses. The sand hills represent a sacred Women’s Dreaming site associated with the green pea (antweth). The seeds (ntang) depicted throughout the painting are of the green pea that are an important food source for the “traditional healer” (ngangkar) and the Mountain Devil Lizard (Arnkerrth).

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Kathleen Petyarre / My Country - Bush Seeds (BCS107) (Balance) (Sold)

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Gail Walls

Amazing. .wonderful paintings…love the stories told with each..beautiful works by all..look forward each day to see what is next to come…a big thank you to all for your beautiful pieces

Alli Lou

If there was an option to, I’d give a 100 star rating

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