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Gloria Petyarre

Gloria Petyarre paintings

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About Gloria Petyarre

Artist: Gloria Petyarre
Skin name: Petyarre (also spelled Pitjara, Petyarr) 
Language group: Anmatyerre 
Country: Atnangkere 
Area: Utopia Region, Central Australia
Born: 1945
AIAM career rank: 11 

Gloria Petyarre has participated in both group and solo exhibitions since the 1980’s.  She has travelled to Ireland, London, Paris, USA, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries exhibiting her works.  Her work is included in the collections of the Australian National State Galleries including the National Gallery of Australia, also the Powerhouse Museum Sydney, Westpac New York, Holmes á Court and many other private collections.  In 1999 Gloria won the prestigious art award, the Wynne Prize, for the Best Australian Landscape.

Gloria first gained recognition in silk batik which began at Utopia in 1978 with exhibitions held nationally and internationally.  In 1988 Gloria was part of the very first group to experiment with canvas, called the Summer Project, and Gloria has since continued to work in this medium. 

Body Paint

Awelye, the women’s ceremony and body paint designs, was the subject of Gloria’s very first painting, she recalls.  Over the years, Gloria has applied many methods of enhancing the simple linear work in her Awelye paintings, including using sponges, hand work and even a brand new toilet brush.

Mountain Devil Lizard

One of Gloria’s most significant Dreamtime stories is that of Arnkerrthe, the Mountain Devil Lizard.  Arnkerrthe travelled over Gloria’s land creating all of the people, sacred sites, songs and other Dreamtime stories. The Dreamtime says that in its neck it holds a sac of ochre which Gloria and her people use for ceremonies. Gloria developed a very popular style for Arnkerrthe Dreaming that she calls the ‘swirly ones’.  A unique design by Gloria, these brush stroke swirls represent the thorny skin on the back of this gentle little lizard. 


By far the most well known of all Gloria’s paintings is Leaves. In April 1994 at Mosquito Bore in Utopia, Gloria began doing something new on her canvas. 

“That first one.  I was looking, looking.  Looks like leaf, and I been put another one and another one and ‘ah yeah’.  First leaf.” - Gloria Petyarre

Throughout the years this design has become more refined, leaves weren’t just scattered on the ground but became picked up in swift passing zephyrs, entangled in whirls of wind and swept across the landscape on the canvas. This life energy attributed to the success of Leaves, winning Gloria the very prestigious Wynne Prize in 1999, and highly recommended in 2004. The Wynne prize is awarded annually for the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or for the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists. 

Read More: 

Leaves Exhibition  |  Gloria Petyarre  |  12 Feb - 5 April 2016 »
Fresh Fallen Leaves by Gloria Petyarre »
List of Gloria Petyarre Exhibitions »
Contact us if you would like to see more artwork by Gloria Petyarre.