Born: c. 1938
Language Group: Anmatyerre
Country: Atnangkere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Batik on Silk
Subjects: Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard), Awelye (Women’s Ceremony and Body Paint Designs)
Violet Petyarre was born on the old Utopia Station at Atnagkere Soakage, c.1938. on the western boundary of Utopia Station, 250 kilometers, north-east of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia.
She is an Anmatyerre speaker and is a significant Elder of one of the most important movements which has emerged from desert painting, the Utopia Women.
Violet Petyarre is sister to artists Kathleen, Gloria, Ada Bird, Nancy, Myrtle and Jean Petyarre. Like the majority of her sisters, she was involved in the batik movement that established the women artists of Utopia.
Her work is represented in the Holmes á Court collection. Gloria often refers to Violet for intimate details of the many plants involved in their ceremonial life. Originally working with batik in 1977, Violet painted the Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming which is from her father’s country on silk textiles.
In 1988 she commenced painting on canvas, which she produced alongside her sister Kathleen Petyarre and her Aunt, the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
Her work was immediately noticed and acquired by major private and corporate collections worldwide. Violet currently lives at Mosquito Bore Outstation in the Utopia region.
Violet commenced painting on batik and silk in 1977 and in 1988 started to paint with acrylics on canvas. She shares the Dreamings : Arnkerrth (Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming) Engcarma (Bean) Unyara (Emu) Annlara (Pencil Yam) Kadjeta (Grass Seeds) Elaitchurunga (Small Brown Grass) Awelye (womens body paint design) with her sisters Ada, Myrtle, Jeannie, Nancy, Gloria and Kathleen.
Violet (with her brothers and sisters) has custodial rights of the Arnkerrth Dreaming (Mountain Devil Lizard), which together with its associated narrative, is referenced in many works of Violet Petyarre
With other Utopia women, Violet Petyarre’s first works-on-canvas evolved through a special local project entitled ‘Utopia Women’s Paintings – A Summer Project 1988-1989’ (The Holmes a’ Court Collection). This project engendered a new direction of artistic output, launching Utopia as a major centre for Indigenous art and placing it firmly within the context of the Australian contemporary art scene.
Violet Petyarre has established herself as a significant figure of the Utopian and Australian contemporary art movements.
Violet took part in the Summer project in 1988/89 at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney, a world tour of Ireland, Scotland, the USA (Harvard University, the University of Minnesota, Oregon, St. Louis, Missouri) and The Art Gallery of NSW in 1990, with the Holmes a Court Collection.
Violet Petyarre’s role as a foundation member of the Utopia arts community together with her artistic individualism has firmly endorsed her position as an important contributor to Australia’s art history.
2002 Solo Exhibition, Fire-works Gallery, Brisbane, Qld.,
1980 Utopia Batik, Artworks Gallery, Alice Springs. NT, Australia
1989 “Utopia – A Picture Strory: 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection”, Meat Market Gallery, Melbourne, Vic, Australia.
1989 “A Summer Project: Utopia Womens Paintings (The First Works on Canvas), S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
1989 Orange Regional Gallery, Orange, NSW, Australia.
1989 Coventry Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
1989 Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide, Australia
1989 S.H Ervin Gallery, Sydney, Australia
1990 The Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth, WA, Australia.
1990 The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland.
1990 The Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland.
1990 Limmerick City Gallery of Art, Limmerick, Ireland.
1990 James Ford Bell Museum, University of Minnesota, USA.
1990 Lakewood Centre for the Arts, Lake Oswego, USA.
1995 Hot Wax National Touring Exhibition, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT, Australia.
1996 Gallerie Australis, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
1996 Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
1997 Songlines Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
1997 Coo-ee Gallery, Sydney, N.S.W.
1997 Dreampower, Art of Contemporary Aborigional Australia, Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud, Indonesia.
1997 Dreampower, Art of Contemporary Aborigional Australia, Galerie Ardiyanto, Jogyakarta, Indonesia.
1997 Dreampower, Art of Contemporary Aborigional Australia, The National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia.
1997 The Alice Prize Art Exhibition, Alice Springs, N.T. Australia.
1997 Japingka Gallery, Desert Designs, Perth, W.A. Australia.
1998 Our Country Then and Now, Gallerie Australis, Adelaide, S.A. Australia
1998 Raiki Wara: Long Cloth from Aboriginal Australia and the Torres Strait, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Vic, Australia, 3rd September.
1998 15th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Exhibition, Darwin, NT, Australia,
1998 “Belonging to Mother Earth” – Indigenous Wisdom and Healing Conference, Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.A.
1999 Utopia Dreamings, Japingka Gallery, Perth W.A. Australia
1999 North by North East, Landscape & Ceremonial paintings from Utopia, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
1999 SALA Week, Gallerie Australis, Adelaide, SA.
1999 Joint Indonesian – Utopia Batik Workshop for Third Pacific Arts Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Qld.
1999 16th Telstra NATSIAA, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT.
2000 Utopia Recent Works, King Street Gallery, Perth, WA.,
2002 SALA Festival, Gallerie Australis, Adelaide, SA,
2002 Violet Petyarre & Abie Loy, Art Empire, Mary Place Gallery, Paddington, 2000 The Collection, Gallerie Australis, Adelaide, South Australia,
2002 Utopia, Framed Gallery, Darwin, Northern Territory,
2003 Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
2004-2006 redrock gallery, Melbourne, Australia.
1994 The Brahma Tirta Sari Studio Artists Workshop run by Angus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam, Jogyakarta, Indonesia.
1997 Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud, Indonesia.
1997 Art Gallery of South Australia, Desert Artists-in-Residence, Adelaide, South Australia
1999 16th Telstra NATSIAA, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT.,
1999 Joint Indonesian – Utopia Batik Workshop for Pacific Arts Triennial Exhibition, Brisbane, Qld.
1998 Australian Delegate, “Belonging to Mother Earth” – Indigenous Wisdom and Healing Conference, Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.A.
Adelaide Festival Centre Trust Collection, Adelaide, South Australia.
The Adelaide University Art Collection, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
The Australian Embassy Collection, Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Holmes à Court Collection, Perth, WA, Australia.
The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
Mem Aziz Collection, Melbourne, Australia
The Kelton Collection, Los Angeles, USA.
Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud, Indonesia.
The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Vic.
The Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
Various Private Collections
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