Kathleen Petyarre was born in the 1940’s at Utopia, in Central Australia. Petyarre initially worked in batik, but her being allergic to some of the materials used in batik caused her to take up painting on canvas as part of CAAMA’s Summer Project in 1988. Petyarre’s paintings directly refer to her ‘Dreamings’ and the land around Utopia, land which she was one of the key Anmatyerre women involved who successfully claimed the freehold title for in 1979, returning it to its traditional owners. By layering very fine dots of acrylic paint, Petyarre’s paintings of carefully constructed landscapes evoke the Aboriginal custom of ceremonial body painting.


Petyarre won the NT Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award on two occasions and is considers on of the ‘most collectable artists in Australia’.



Royal Collection of HM Queen Elizabeth

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Musée du quai Branly, Paris

Museum for Contemporary Aboriginal Art, The Netherlands

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Collection, Australia

Royal Palace Museum, Ubud, Bali

Essl Collection, Vienna

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, USA

The Kelton Foundation, Los Angeles, USA