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Gloria Tamerre Petyarre

Arnkerrthe - Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming - 1993

synthetic polymer paint on canvas
83 x 75 cm
Price Realised: $1,830.00

MP #649


Rodney Gooch, NT
Utopia Art Sydney, NSW Cat No. 72-793
Sotheby's Australia
Private Collection, NSW

Raised in a remote part of the Eastern Desert and initiated into Anmatyerre law and traditions, Gloria Petyarre participated in the first art programs organised at Utopia in 1977, when she was 39 years of age. Those early batik-making workshops marked the emergence of Aboriginal women artists in the region. When art advisor Rodney Gooch introduced the women to acrylic paints and canvas in the early 1980s, a range of new possibilities opened up that were distinctly female and without precedent in the Aboriginal art movement.

In this, one of Gloria’s earliest paintings, she has lifted the body-painting design for the Mountain Devil Lizard ceremony off the body and applied it to the canvas. In this ceremony, the ancestral being is honoured, good rains and harvests are acknowledged, and the rules of relatedness between people and country are carefully retraced and strengthened.

Over time, Gloria began to paint more freely, experimenting with bands of parallel lines, curvilinear patterns, colour schemes, and textural areas of dots and dashes.

Working alongside Emily Kame Kngwarreye and inspired by the older woman’s groundbreaking success and brave, expressive abstraction, Gloria went on to develop the confident and distinctive style for which she is now better known.