DOB:    1961
BORN: Utopia, NT

Artist Biography

Rosemary Petyarre was born in Atneltyeye or Boundary Bore on Utopia Station, Northern Territory. As a bush woman, she is familiar with her land andits abundance of bush tucker species, medicine plants and native fauna. Rosemary was one of a group of Anmatyerre women at the forefront of the art movement in the Utopia area.

She was amongst a small group of women who traveled to Indonesia to learn various techniques in the manufacturing of batiks. It was after the Holmes à Court ‘Summer Project’ sponsored by the CAAMA network in 1988 that Rosemary started painting with acrylics and canvas. This led to a career in painting with acrylics on canvas.

Her works vary from the use of traditional iconography to the more contemporary styles of the Utopia region. The themes are primarily bush medicines, yam dreaming and body painting. These are the stories inherited by her, along with important women’s stories, and these form the basis of her paintings.

As a bush woman, Rosemary Petyarre is familiar with her land and its abundant species of bush tucker, medicinal plants and native fauna. She and her sister Jeannie Petyarre inherited these stories, along with important women’s stories, from her ancestors via her aunt Emily and they form the basis of her paintings. The subject of many of Rosemary Petyarre’s paintings is a representation of leaves collected around her country and used for a variety of medicinal purposes. In particular, she returns again and again to Bush Yam Leaves and Bush Medicine, depicting these themes with flowing representations of the leaves. Typical of the Utopia artists, Rosemary Petyarre rejoices in the use of colour.

Today, Rosemary Petyarre spends her time between Utopia and Alice Springs. Rosemary Petyarre is a highly talented artist amongst the famous names of Aboriginal art who reside and work at Utopia Homelands. Rosemary Petyarre’s paintings have been acquired by collectors worldwide. Aboriginal art status – Established artist.

Rosemary Petyarre is niece of the famous Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and sister of Jeannie Petyarre and half sister of artists Greeny Purvis Petyarre and Evelyn Pultara. She is also a skin sister to other well-known artists including Gloria Petyarre, Kathleen Petyarre and Ada Bird Petyarre.


Holmes a’Court Collection, Perth

Various private collections in Australia and overseas


1989 – Utopia Women’s Paintings ‘A Summer Project’

1990 – ‘A picture Story’, 88 silk works from the Holmes a’Court Collection, UK

1993 – Central Australian Aboriginal Art & Craft Exhibition, Alice Springs

And many other group shows in Australia and overseas.

Selected Exhibitions

1989 Utopia Women’s Paintings, A Summer Project

1990 A picture Story, 88 silk works from the Holmes à Court Collection, UK

1993 Central Australian Aboriginal Art & Craft Exhibition, Alice Springs NT

2008 Utopia Collection2, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA

2014 Desert Song, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA

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