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Utopia Life: an exhibition of paintings by Dinny and Josie Kunoth

February 12, 2021 2 min read

Dinny Kunoth wearing a plaid shirt and black cowboy hat, sitting facing forward with a big smile

Deep into Central Australia’s remote Utopia region, there is a small community nestled in the bush where Dinny and Josie Kunoth live.

Several bright coloured buildings are home to the residents of this community which include a portion of Dinny and Josie's nine children and their families.

The community is just out of range of cellular coverage and a pay phone stands tall outside one of the main houses providing crucial connection to the outside world.

Square image of Church painting by Josie Kunoth. The church is outdoors, with three people playing in a rock band on stage, a green background, blue sky, two buildings in background, people gathered, and two women singing beneath the stage.

An outdoor church holds services which Dinny and Josie attend regularly. They both take an active role and often do readings and studies, and Josie, being gifted with an ethereal voice, will sing gospel music alongside the rock band that is made up of enthusiastic young men from the community.

An empty garage near the community's entrance shows evidence of having been used as a painting studio; on those days when the elements don’t permit being outside.

But Dinny and Josie like to paint in their open air studio. It is just a short walk from the community - up a small winding dirt track on a gradual incline that gives the studio an unexpected platform to view the community and surrounds with ease. The sun sets beautifully on the unimpeded horizon here.

Josie Kunoth Petyarre wearing blue t-shirt and beannie, sitting over a small canvas in front of a corrugated tin wind break, painting with a brush.

A wind break around the studio has been made of corrugated tin, branches and rope that Dinny and Josie’s family put together.

Canvases are rolled up and stored in an organised fashion on makeshift shelves among the branches, and an old car has been positioned nearby to act as a storeroom; housing boxes of paints, brushes and other art supplies.

Dinny Kunoth holding Utopia scene painting

Several rugs and blankets are laid across the red dirt which is where these two creatives do their work. They paint and create wood carvings, and their works in both mediums are held in national art gallery collections around Australia.

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Dinny and Josie both like to create artworks that are a vivid, colourful portrait of their culture and life here.

One of the main subjects featured in this exhibition is of bush football. Bush football is a sport that receives a passionate involvement from the Utopia community throughout the course of its season and is one of this couple's favourite sporting events - both live and on TV.

Two football goal posts in front of a vast oval of red dirt.

Pictured is the Arlparra football ground near to their home; a place where the toughest of football games are played, and are attended by people from hundreds of kilometre's around.

Local teams are named after and don insignia of some of the AFL’s most prominent teams.

Dinny and Josie barrack for their community's Apungalingum Eagles.

Image of a 120cm x 90cm naive Bush Football painting by Dinny Kunoth. The background colour is red ochre and the football ground in the centre is painted in bright pink.


Utopia Life exhibition runs from 12 Feb - 26 Apr 2021 and features twelve works by Dinny and Josie Kunoth.

View exhibition »

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