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Myrtle Petyarre

Myrtle Petyarre

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Myrtle Petyarre is sister to Kathleen, Gloria, Ada Bird, Nancy, Violet and Jean Petyarre. She was born c1930 and her country is Atnangkerre. She lives in the Utopia region, 170 miles north east of Alice Springs, with her daughters Gracie Morton Pwerle (Ngale) and Mary Jones Pwerle.

Like the majority of her sisters, she was involved in the batik movement that established the women artists of Utopia. Her work is represented in the Homes a Court collection. Her paintings are acrylic on canvas or linen.

Myrtle, her sisters and brothers are the custodians of Arnkerrth (Mountain Devil Lizard or Thorny Devil Lizard Dreaming), Green Pea Dreaming, Atnangkerre (Women Hunting Ankerr (Emu) and Arengk (Dingo) Dreaming). All of her paintings directly refer to these "Dreamings" and the associated country around Utopia in the eastern central desert of Australia. Myrtle and her sisters (they all have the same father and four mothers), Ada Bird Petyarre, Gloria Petyarre, Nancy Petyarre, Kathleen Petyarre, Violet Petyarre and Jean Petyarre all paint these Dreamings.

Myrtle uses strong linear pattern in her paintings to represent the stories and is known also to use dot work in her work. Many of her paintings also represent body painting used in ceremonies.

In Aboriginal culture, ceremonies are focal points in the life of the community. They are held for different purposes, but are integral to the happiness and well being of the people.

The people dance and celebrate to acknowledge the fertility of the land, the health of the people, the initiation of young men or to mourn the passing of a loved one. They smear their bodies with animal fat and then trace certain ceremonial designs on the top half of their body using a variety of powders, ground from charcoal and yellow and red ochre (red acrylic paint is now sometimes used instead of red ochre). They gather together and sing and dance led by the most senior women of the clan group. The women's ceremony is kept separate to the man's ceremony, though each one is equally as important. The main point is that the people are demonstrating their respect and love for the land.

The body paint designs vary from ceremony to ceremony and depend on the subject and the time of year the ceremony is held. Different symbols are painted on the body and may vary from person to person depending on the seniority of each member.

Group Exhibitions
· 1989 S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney, Australia
· 1989 Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide, Australia
· 1990 The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland
· 1990 The Crawford Municipal art Gallery, Cork, Ireland
· 1990 Limmerick City Gallery of Art, Limmerick, Ireland,
· 1994 Brahma Tirta Sari Batik Studio, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
· 1995 Museum & Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia
· 1996 Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide, Australia
· 2004 Cicada Trading in Denver, USA
· 2004 Cicada Trading at Emily's, Clear Lake, Houston, USA
· 2005 Cicada Trading at Illayda Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
· 2005 Cicada Trading in Milan, Italy
· 2005 Cicada Trading at Emily's, Clear Lake, Houston, USA
· 2005 Cicada Trading at New York Affordable Art Fair, New York, USA - exhibited with the Australian Aboriginal Fine Art Gallery of New York.
· 2006 Cicada Trading Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
· 2006 Cicada Trading in Paris, France
· 2006 Cicada Trading in Houston, USA
· 2006 Cicada Trading Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
· 2006 Cicada Trading in Abu Dhabi, UAE
· 2006 Cicada Trading at the Bahrain Arts Society, the Kingdom of Bahrain
· 2007 Cicada Trading in Abu Dhabi, UAE
· 2007 Cicada Trading in Canterbury, UK
· 2007 Cicada Trading in Paris, France
· 2007 Cicada Trading in Houston, France
Collections
· Museum & Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia

Prints and Woodblocks
· The Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Australia

Batik
· The Robert Holmes a Court Collection, WA, Australia depicted in a book entitled Utopia – A Picture Story
· National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.



Last Updated - Jun 9, 2017