Kathleen Petyarre

Click here to view a Biography of this artist.

BORN    circa 1938


REGION    Utopia

LANGUAGE    Anmatyerre

The paintings of Kathleen Petyarre have been compared internationally to those of the minimalist modern artists Mark Rothko and Agnes Martin, not so much for their formal structure: but for what underlies beneath, partially hidden from the observers view. In actuality, Kathelen Petyarre’s paintings are mental territorial maps, which portray her country, and the narrative associated with her inherited Dreaming stories.

Her celebrated works, Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming, when presented on a grand scale, depict the whole of her ancestral country (which covers some 200 square kilometers of the eastern desert of central Australia), whilst other works, like the My Country and Rock-holes series, present a seasonal snapshot within: a close-up of a geographical location spiritually important to the artist.

Since her first works-on-canvas appeared in 1988 in the collaborative Utopia exhibition ‘A Summer Project’ (The Holmes a’ Court Collection), Kathleen Petyarre’s oeuvre has always been identified by her deft minimalist overtures. Now, in the summer of 2004/5, we see a new style of work emerging, bolder, perhaps more abstract, certainly more modern in it’s technicality and presentation, yet each work retains her signature form and elegant style of delicacy. Through her beautiful and highly evocative paintings, Kathleen Petyarre continues to retain her position at the forefront of the Australian contemporary art movement.


1989    Coventry Garden, Sydney
1989    Tandanya, Adelaide
1989    Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin
1989    Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork Ireland
1989    Harvard University, Boston USA
1989    Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1991    Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin
1992    Robert Holmes A Court Collection, Sydney
1993    Moree Plains Art Gallery, Moree, NSW
1994    Australian Embassy, Paris, France
1994    Songlines Gallery, Amsterdam & The Netherlands
1995    Ludwig Forum for International Kunst, Aachen, Germany
1996    Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
1996    Old Parliament House, Canberra
1996    Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
1996    Gallerie Australis, Adelaide
1997    Songlines Gallery, Amsterdam & The Netherlands
1997    Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Surfers Paradise
1997    Museum Puri, Lukisan, Ubud, Bali & Indonesia
1997    National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta
1997    National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1997    Dreampower, Adelaide & Mary Place Gallery, Sydney
1997    Coo – ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney
1998    National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1998    Chapman Gallery, Canberra
1998    Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
1998    Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
1998    Japinka Gallery, Perth
1999    Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
2002    Aboriginal Galleries of Australia, Melbourne
2002    Gallerie Commines, Paris, France


2001    One of Australia’s 50 most Collectable Artists
2002    One of Australia’s 50 most Collectable Artists
1998    Finalist, “1998 Seppelts Contemporary Art Award – Visual Art”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia
1998    Winner, People’s Choice Award, 1998 Seppelts Contemporary Art Award, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia
1997    Overall Winner of the Visy Board Art Prize, the Barossa Vintage Festival Art Show, Nurioopta, SA, Australia
1996    Joint Second Prize, Open Award Category – The Third National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Heritage Commission Art Award, Canberra, ACT, Australia
1996    Overall winner of the Telstra 13th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, NT, Australia


Collection of H. M. Queen Elizabeth II
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT, Australia
The Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth, WA, Australia
The Museum & Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT, Australia
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide, SA, Australia
The Kluge-Rhue Collection, University of West Virginia, VA, USA
The Kelton Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, USA
The Levi-Kaplan Collection, Seattle, WA, USA
A.T.S.I.C. Collection, Adelaide, SA, Australia
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
University of South Australia Art Museum, Adelaide, SA, Australia
Riddoch Regional Art Gallery, Mount Gambier, SA, Australia
Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia
Collection de Musée des Arts d’Afrique et d’Oceanie, Paris, France.
Peabody – Essex Anthropology and Ethnology Museum, Harvard University,
Salem, Mass, USA
Adelaide Festival Centre Trust Collection, Adelaide, South Australia