Aboriginal Art

Gloria Petyarre

Born about 1945, Gloria Petyarre is a prominent Anmatyerre artist who has been well recognised in Australia for some years. Her work has been widely exhibited since 1977 when she was a part of the  Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) Summer Project. This project took some of the women from Utopia to Indonesia to learn how to make Batik. This first foray into art making produced 88 batiks which were all acquired by the Holmes a Court Collection in 1987 after touring internationally. Between 1977 and 1987 she participated in numerous group exhibitions with other women artists from Utopia painting in Batik as well as in acrylics. the ease of working with acrylics and the colours available made her transition completely to this medium.

Gloria Petyarre has traveled widely and her work is included in many of the well-known public Galleries in Australia including the Art Gallery of NSW, the National Gallery in Canberra among others. In the US Gloria was included in a large exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco and in the associated book produced for the exhibition, edited by Australian anthropologist, Jennifer Issacs. She is also represented in the British Museum Collection in London, UK. While she works within the bounds of traditional knowledge and often expresses Tjukurrpa themes and traditional women’s body designs, Gloria remains a contemporary artist, exhibiting a number of clear stylistic innovations. Her representations of the bush medicine leaves as both delicate, small leaves, blown by the wind and the bold large, coarse Mulga leaves demonstrates her artistic style.  At the same time, the forms or structures that can be discerned underlying much of her work are reminiscent of the forms of other kin, in particular Emily Kame Kngwarreye and her sister Ada Bird. Gloria’s work is represented in most public galleries and many significant corporate collections and in 2004 , 2005 and 2007 she was selected to exhibit in the Wynne (Landscape) Prize as a finalist at the Art Gallery of NSW, having previously won this prize in 1999. Her work has also been used on a limited release Hermes scarf, and a large painting by Gloria Petyarre hangs in the Prime Minster’s residence in Canberra, ACT.

Not only are Gloria’s paintings hung in most of the major collections she is also the focus of portraiture. Some photographs of Gloria are part of the collection in the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.


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