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Gloria Petyarre

Born -
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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, 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.

Awelye, the women’s ceremonial 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 toilet brush.

One of Gloria’s most important 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. In its neck it holds a sac of ochre that Gloria and her people use for ceremonies. Gloria has developed a very popular style for Arnkerrthe Dreaming that she calls the ‘swirly ones’. A unique design by Gloria, these 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).

This painting can be viewed in the Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum.  Throughout the years this design has become more refined, leaves aren’t just scattered on the ground but rather picked up in swift passing zephyrs, entangled in whirls of wind and swept across the landscape. 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.

Awards, Acquisitions and Accolades

1995/6 Recipient of a Fellowship Grant from the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council

1999  Winner of the Wynne Prize for the Best Australian Landscape Painting

2004  Highly Commended, Wynne Prize for Best Australian Landscape Painting

2008  Centrefold, Mbantua Gallery and Cultural Museum Newsletter, Issue   21 January 2008


Allen, Allen & Hemsley

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

 Art Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne


British Museum, London

Campbelltown City Art Gallery

Flinders University, South Australia

Griffith University Collection

Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Surfers Paradise

The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth

Macquarie Bank

Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs

Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Queensland University of Technology

Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

Supreme Court, Brisbane

University of New South Wales, Sydney

University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford U.S.A

Westpac, New York Wollongong City Art Gallery

Solo Exhibitions

1991  Australian Galleries, New York,USA

1991  Utopia Art, Sydney 1993   Awelye, Utopia Art, Sydney

1995   Gloria Petyarre: On the Line, Utopia Art Sydney

1997   Instant Pictures, Utopia Art Sydney

1998   Gloria Tamerre Petyarre, Campbelltown Bicentennial Art Gallery

1998   The Anangkere Growth Paintings, Chapman Gallery, Canberra

1998   Gloria Petyarre, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs

1998   Gloria Tamerre Petyarre: a survey exhibition, Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery

1998   Utopia: Ancient Cultures New Forms, Galeri Petronis, Malaysia.

1999   New Leaves, Utopia Art Sydney

1999  Gloria Tamerre Petyarre: a survey exhibition, (touring- New England) Regional Art Museum

1999  Wildflowers, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs

1999  Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne

1999  Redback Gallery, Brisbane 1999  Red Desert Gallery, Eumundi, Qld

2002 Leaves you thinking, World Vision of Australia, Walkabout Gallery, Sydney

2003  Nov – Gloria Petyarre, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs

2006 Leaves of Time, a Retrospect of Gloria Petyarre’s work on canvas, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs

2006   July – Leaves of Time, an exhibition in conjunction with the Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum Exhibition, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs

Group Exhibitions

1984  The First National Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the N.T., Darwin

1985  The Second National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

1988  Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Utopia Art Sydney

1988  Time Before Time, Austral Gallery, St.Louis, USA

1989  Art from Utopia, Austral Gallery, St Louis, USA

1989  Utopia Women, Coventry Gallery, Sydney;

1989   Utopia Batik, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs;

1989   Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

1990   Utopia – A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Holmes á Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Eire and Scotland.

1990  Tagari Lia: My Family, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Australia, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, UK

1991   The Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin

1991   Aboriginal Women’s Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

1992  New Tracks Old Land, An exhibition of Contemporary Prints from Aboriginal Art, Touring USA and Australia

1993   Asia Pacific Triennialof Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery

1994   Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria

1995   A Celebration of the Art and Craft of Aboriginal Women, Aboriginal and Tribal Art Centre, Sydney

1996  Seoul Arts Centre, Korea

1996   Fifth Australian Contemporary Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne

1996  Contemporary Abstract Aboriginal Art, Sherman Galleries, Sydney

1996   Imagining the Real: an exhibition of recent acquisitions from the Parliament House Collection, Canberra

1996   The Third National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Art Award, Old Parliament House, Canberra

1996   Hidden Treasures II: Art in Corporate Collections, SH Ervin Gallery

1996   Flagging the Republic, Sherman Galleries

1996  New England Regional Art Museum touring exhibition

1996  Contemporary Australian Abstraction, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne

1997  Tapestries (woven by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop) Australian Galleries, Sydney

1997   Flagging the Republic, Grafton Regional Gallery

1997   L’Art des Aborigènes d’Australie, Arts d’Australie, Stéphane Jacob and Galerie de Stassart, Bruxelles

1997   L’Art des Aborigènes d’Australie, Arts d’Australie, Stéphane Jacob and Espace Paul Riquet, Béziers

1998   National Works on Paper, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria 1998   Primary Colours: Blue, Annandale Galleries, Sydney

1998   Women Painters of the Desert, Fire-Works Gallery, Fortitude Valley, Queensland

1998  Propositions Australiennes, Arts d’Australie, Stéphane Jacob and galerie Luc Queyrel, Paris

1998   Dreamings, Spazzio Pitti Arte, Italy

1998   Dreamings, Vlaams-Europeesch Conferentiecentrum, Brussels, Belgium

1998  Art Gallery Kunsthuys, the Netherlands

1998 New World Art Gallery, Hattem, the Netherlands

1998  Art Gallery “Culture Store”, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

1998   The Aknangkere Growth Paintings, Chapman Gallery, Canberra, ACT

1999  Exhibition/catalogue Aboriginal Art Galerie Bahr

1999 Utopia: Traditions and Innovation, Recent work by the artists of Utopia NT, Hogarth Galleries

1999  Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs

1999   Jun-Aug – Caring for Country – artists of Utopia, Tandanya, S.A

1999   Utopia: Ancient Cultures New Forms, Art Gallery of Western Australia

1999 Petyarre Dreaming, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne

1999 Crossroads: Millennium Portfolio of Australian Aboriginal Artists, Sherman Galleries, Sydney

1999   Australie – Art, Arts d’Australie, Stéphane Jacob and J.L. Amsler, Bastille, Paris

2000  Utopia Women, Red Desert Gallery, Eumundi, Qld/ Sunshine Coast University/ Noosa Blue Resort, Noosa Qld

2000   Mar-Apr – Artists of Utopia, Tandanya, S.A

2001 Apr-May – Primal Instincts; Bambatu Napangardi, Tibby Ellaga, Lilly Sandover Kngwarreye, and works of paper Gloria Petyarre

2001   May-Jul – Painting Country, Tandanya, S.A 2001   June – De Beer’s Collection, Brookdale Galleries, QLD

2001   Aug – Seven Sisters Petyarre, Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane

2001  Dreamtime: the Dark and the Light, Kunst der Gegenwart, Sammlung Essl, Vienna

2001   Desert Flowering: Aborignal Art from Private Collections, Manawatu Gallery, New Zealand

2001  8th International Works on Paper Fair, Byron Kennedy Hall, Fox Studios Australia, Sydney

2002   Crossroads: the Millennium Portfolio of Australian Aboriginal Prints, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

2002   Generations, Japingka Gallery WA 2003   June – Seven Sisters, Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Sydney

2002  Mbantua Gallery USA Exhibitions, Nashville, Knoxville and Portland

2003  Mbantua Gallery USA Exhibitions, Nashville, Knoxville and Portland

2004   Feb – Last of the 20th Century, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs

2004 Aug-Sep – Mbantua Gallery USA exhibition: Portland, Nashville, Knoxville, Hartford, Greenwich, New York and Philadelphia

2004 Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs


1993  Mural for Kansas City Zoo

1993  Tapestry for Victoria Tapestry Workshop

Further Exhibitions

Stanislawsk-Birnberg, M.  1990, Journeylines©

Morphy, H.    1998, Aboriginal Art, Published Phaidon ©

Isaacs, J.  1999, Spirit Country, Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, Hardie Grant Books ©

Desart, the Aboriginal art centres of Central Australia 2000, Putting in the Colour – Contemporary Aboriginal Textiles, Jukurrpa Books (IAD Press) ©

Brody, A.  1989 Utopia Women’s Paintings The First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project 1988-89,, Heytesbury Holdings, Perth.

Brody, A.  1990, Utopia: a Picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection.