Gloria PetyarreGloria Tamerre Petyarre

Born: 1942
Skin Name: Tamerre
Country: Utopia
Subjects and Themes (Dreaming): Leaves, Bush Medicine, Thorny Mountain Devil Lizard

Gloria Tamerre Petyarre has spent her life in her native country Anungara. For many years she lived and worked at Adelaide Bore, to the west of Utopia Station on the Ti Tree Aboriginal Lease. Late in life she emerged as Australia’s most travelled and exhibited living indigenous painter with a solid international reputation as one of the great Aboriginal artists.


Gloria Petyarre – in the beginning    (watch video)

During the late 1970s she was a founding member of the Utopia Women’s batik Group. Her Aunty, the famous Emily Kame Kngwarreye, was there from the beginning and together niece and aunty played a most influential role as the art of Utopia began to form.

Gloria painted her first canvas for CAAMA’s “Summer Project” exhibition in 1988-9 and hence was amongst the very first painters in the ‘new way’ at Utopia. The following year she travelled to Ireland, London and India as a representative of the Utopia women, accompanying the “Utopia: A Picture Story” exhibition. Then, in 1991, she had her first solo show at ‘Utopia Arts’, Sydney, under the guidance of Christopher Hodges.

There is little doubt that Gloria benefitted greatly from the close association with Emily Kame and the other Aboriginal painters as they emerged as a group at Utopia. She, like the others, continually drew on her past experiences of life in their country with its attendant ritual and ceremonies. Her subjects were always close at hand … part of her very being. Furthermore, she was always a ‘natural’ painter with an assured technique.

Seeing her paint, brush in hand, brings the realization that she is highly accomplished. One may be lucky enough to hear Gloria gently sing her way through the many verses that comprise the song of the ‘Medicine Leaf’. The singing takes the form of short, rhythmic verses, which can produce, in her, a trance-like state. Traditionally this was a lead in to ceremonial performance and dance. All of this was accompanied by body painting.

She will tell you that each of her ‘dreaming’s’ carries with it a traditional, ancient song. Her singing combined with the gentle flow of paint from her brush promotes the idea that this is, in truth, a ‘performance’ that is substituting for an ancient ceremony. When the ‘performance’ is complete the resulting object, the painting, is incidental.

 Gloria with Werner


1988  Group exhibition, “Time Before Time”, Austral Gallery, St Louis, USA.

1990  Traveling group batik exhibition, “Utopia – A Picture Story”, the Holmes a Court Collection, Ireland, England, France, Thailand & India.

1990  Group Exhibition, “Tagari Lia: My Family”, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, Ireland.

1992  Group exhibition, “New  Tracks Old Lands”, Boston and touring US.

1992  Group exhibition, “Aboriginal Art: Utopia in the Desert”, Nogizaki Arthall, Tokyo, Japan.

1993  Solo exhibition, “Awelye”, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW.

1994  Solo exhibition, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW.

1995  Solo exhibition, “Gloria Petyarre: On the Line”, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW.

1998  Solo exhibition, Utopia Art, Sydney, NSW.

1998  Solo exhibition “The Aknangkere Growth Paintings”-First Release – Chapman Gallery- Canberra, ACT.

1999  Self titled solo exhibition- Flinders Lane Gallery- Melbourne, VIC.

1999  Solo Exhibition, Red Desert Gallery, Eumundi, Queensland.

1999  Solo exhibition, “Gloria Petyarre: A Survey”, New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, NSW.

1999  Solo exhibition, “Wildflowers”,  Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT.

2000  DACOU in association with AMP- an official sponsor of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, held a mixed Utopia art exhibition in the AMP building, Sydney.

2001  “Two Women- Dreamings”- exhibited with Barbara Weir at Dreamtime Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

2002   Mixed Utopia exhibition at Knut Grothe Galeri in Charlottlenlund Copenhagen, Denmark.

2002   Mixed Utopia exhibition at Galerie a Le Temps Du Reve, France.

2002  Solo exhibition, “Leaves You Thinking”, World Vision of Australia, Walkabout Gallery, Sydney, NSW.

2002  Solo exhibition of Aknangkere Growth paintings at Gallery Savah, Sydney, NSW.

2003  ‘The Other Side of the Land, Art from Central Australia’,Group Exhibition, Berlin, Germany ( in cooperation with the Aboriginal Art Galerie Bähr, Speyer).

2004  Group Exhibition, ‘Sanjski cas. Dreamtime’, Cankarjevdom, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

05-06  With Ada Petyarre, “Black Abstract”, Woolloongabba Art Gallery and touring, Brisbane, QLD.

2007  Group exhibition, ‘Utopia in New York’. Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA.

2007  Group exhibition, “New Works from Utopia”, Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

2009  Wynne Landscape Prize, Gallery of NSW, Sydney, NSW

2009  “Utopia, Color’s of the Desert”, Gongpyeong Art Space in conjunction with DACOU, Australian Embassy in Korea & Crossbay Gallery, Seoul, Korea.

2009  Solo Exhibition, “Gloria Petyarre, A Summer Collection”, DACOU Gallery Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.

2010  Susan McCulloch’s “The
Summer Show”, Group Exhibition, Salt Contemporary Art, Queenscliff, VIC.

2010  “Desert Rhythms”, group exhibition, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.

2010  “Utopia”, Group exhibition, DACOU Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.

2010  “A Summer Exhibition from The Lands”, group exhibition, McCulloch’s Aboriginal Art and Flinders Village Café, Flinders, VIC.

2010  “Recent Works”, DACOU Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.


Allen, Allen & Hemsley;
Art Bank Sydney;
Art Gallery of New South Wales;
Art Gallery of Western Australia;
Australian National Gallery;
Campbelltown City Art Gallery;
Flinders University, South Australia;
Gold Coast City Art Gallery;
Griffith University Collection;
Holmes a Court Collection;
Kerry Stokes Collection;
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery;
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne;
National Gallery of Victoria;
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney;
Queensland Art Gallery;
Queensland University of Technology;
Riddoch Art Gallery, S.A.;
Supreme Court, Brisbane;
The Robert Holmes a Court Collection;
University of New South Wales;
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, U.S.A.;
Westpac, New York;
James D. Wolfensohn Collection;
Woollongong City Art Gallery;
Woollongong University Collection;
Macquarie Bank;
University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland;
Singapore Art Museum;
Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory;
British Museum.


1993 Design for tapestry for Victorian Tapestry Workshop
1993 Mural for Kansas City Zoo
1998 National Works on Paper Award, MPRG
1999 Fellowship, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board,
Australia Council
1999 Wynne Landscape Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney


Paintings by Gloria Petyarre: