Gloria TAMERRE PETYARRE - Arnkerrethe Mountain Devil Lizard

Gloria TAMERRE PETYARRE - Arnkerrethe Mountain Devil Lizard

1997, 91 x 184cm ADG1097

ADG: 1097



Arnkerrethe Mountain Devil Lizard - Story of painting

Lizard species form a substantial part of the Central Australian Aboriginal people's diet and are depicted in Bush Tucker paintings as an Aboriginal food source .

The Mountain Devil Lizard or Thorny Devil Lizard story tells of the Old Woman Mountain Devil Lizard who travelled the vast regions of the Utopia region identifying sacred sites and forming the landscape.

The Mountain Devil Lizard is tiny and is said to carry a small sac of ochre around his neck to help create the country, He is an important ancestral totem for the famous sisters: Kathleen Petyarre, Violet Petyarre, Myrtle Petyarre, Gloria Petyarre, Nancy Kunoth Petyarre, Jean Petyarre and Ada Bird Petyarre from Utopia region in Central Australia.

They inherited the Mountain Devil Lizard (Arnkerrethe) story from their paternal grandmother, and they are the custodians of this significant Dreaming with an obligation to maintain this Aboriginal Dreamtime story, and pass it on to future generations.

The Petyarre sisters each paint a different interpretation of their Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming.


Gloria TAMERRE PETYARRE - Biography

Born c.1932, Utopia Station, N.T.

Skin Name Petyarre (pronounced pi-jah-ra)

Language Group Anmayterre

Country Atnangkere

Community Boundary Bore

Region Utopia Homelands, Northern Territory

Stories Awelye (women's ceremonial body paint designs) Dreaming Stories, Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard), Angertla (Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming) Engcarma (Bean),Unyar(Emu), Annlara (Pencil Yam), Kadjeta (Grass Seeds), Elaitchurunga, Bush Medicine (Acacia leaves)

Gloria Petyarre is one of the seven well known artists- the ' Seven Petyarre Sisters', from the Utopia Region (Ada, Myrtle, Nancy, Kathleen, Violet and Jean Petyarre). Gloria first gained recognition as an artist working in the medium of batik, exhibiting with the Utopia Women in shows around Australia and abroad for a decade (1977-1987) before taking up the medium of canvas, painting her first work for CAAMA's Summer Project exhibition. In 1990-1991, Gloria travelled to Ireland, London and India as a representative of the Utopia women, accompanying the 'Utopia: A Picture Story' exhibition.

Gloria’s work is based on the body paint designs for her Dreamings, and shows clearly the designs painted across the women's breasts and shoulders, particularly for the Mountain Devil Lizard Ceremony. Since those early, highly distinctive works, she has developed her paintings to higher levels of abstraction, and continually experiments with line and colour. Gloria's work features on the cover of the Art of Utopia by Michael Boulter, and has been included in major survey exhibitions including 'Flash Painting' at the National Gallery of Australia in 1992, the 1991 Art Gallery of NSW touring 'Aboriginal Women's Exhibition', and in solo exhibitions. A multi-award winner, Gloria won the AGNSW Wynne Prize for landscape painting in 1999 and has been selected as a finalist four times since. Gloria’s work has featured many times in the most prominent Aboriginal art prize in the country, the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Art Award.

Awards and Commissions

2004 Wynne Prize for Landscape Painting, Highly Commended, Art Gallery of New South Wales

1999 Winner, Wynne Prize for Landscape Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales

1993 Design for tapestry for Victorian Tapestry Workshop


National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Allen Allen and Hemsley (Allens), Sydney

Museum of Victoria, Melbourne

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Westpac, New York

Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Surfers Paradise

Riddoch Art Gallery, Mt Gambier, SA

Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Perth

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

British Museum, London

Singapore Art Museum

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Flinders University Art Museum

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, University of Virginia

Ranking - Most Important Australian Indigenous Artists (both living and deceased)

2011 Ranked 21 /100

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