Nephew of the renowned artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Greeny Purvis Petyarre was born in around 1930 and grew up to become a high ranking tribal elder of his country, Alhalkere, in the Utopia region of Central Australia.
As a painter, he was renowned as a spiritual and innovative artist. His most recognised, and predominate body of works, were those that depicted the root system of the pencil yam beneath the ground. These paintings consist of highly colour charged lines, employed slowly and delicately creating variations in each individual line. The colours Greeny used usually represented different stages in the development of the yam seed from germination to maturity.
White dots applied with the flat end of bamboo satay sticks framed each line and represented the ever significant yam seed, kame.
These paintings were highly sought after by collectors and galleries around the world.
Greeny passed away on the 3rd of May 2010 and left behind his wife, Kathleen Purvis, daughters Judy, Maureen, Jedda and Jennifer, his granddaughter Katrina Greeny and many extended family.