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Kathleen Petyarre

Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming - 2006

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
137.0 x 137.0 cm
Price Realised: $17,000.00

MP #313


Galerie Australis, SA Cat No. GAKP0906498

Cooee Art Gallery, NSW 

The Lowensteins Art Collection, Vic

Cooee Art Gallery, NSW


Utopia and Beyond, January 2007, Avalon Recreation Centre, Cooee Art

Katheen Petyarre is best known for her finely wrought, intimate renditions of the vast landscapes in the Eastern Desert. These were created during the epic journeys of her Dreaming ancestor and totem, the tiny Thorny Devil Lizard, referred to as ‘that Old Woman Mountain Devil’.


This tiny desert creature is believed to have created the vast desert home of the Eastern Anmatjerre people by moving each grain of sand, grain by grain, since the dawn of time. Petyarre and her clanswomen believe that they are its descendants, and have therefore inherited the responsibility for caring and nurturing the vast landscape that she depicts so intimately and carefully in her paintings.


Petyarre's process leading to these sumptuous paintings took years to perfect. At the centre of this painting is a sacred Women’s Dreaming site associated with the green pea (antweth).  Depicted throughout the painting are seeds (ntang) of the pea, which are an important food for the “traditional healer” (ngangkar), and the Mountain Devil Lizard (Arnkerrth). 

The elongated X-shape represents two of the artist’s Mountain Ancestors Dreaming paths.