Kathleen Petyarre was born c.1940 in the remote spinifex country of Atnangker, which lies some 275 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs, she is a Utopia woman and is from the language group Anmatyerre/Alyawarre. Kathleen is the niece of the late Emily Kngwarreye and one of seven artistic sisters, including Gloria Petyarre, Nancy Petyarre, Jean Petyarre, Myrtle Petyarre, Violet Petyarre and Ada Bird.
Kathleen began to learn batik in the early 1970’s and her artistic mediums developed from there. Her paintings feature the Dreamings of Arnkerrth (Mountain Devil Lizard) and its associated narratives for which her family holds custodial rights.
Kathleen’s paintings represent her dreaming and her country in various forms; lizard tracks, sand hills, bush seeds, watercourses and rock holes, sandstorms & hailstorms. Her latest acclaimed works are painted by finely grouping and layering tiny dots, applied with the point of a fine stick. Kathleen has traveled overseas extensively with her art and is the winner of several major art awards and her art is held in some of the most prestigious collections in the world. Kathleen was the 1996 Overall winner of the Telstra 13th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin, NT.
National gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Museum and Art Galleries of Northern Territory, Darwin
South Australian Museum, Adelaide
Robert Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
Collection des Arts d’Afrique et d’Oceanie, Paris, France
Levi-Kaplan Collection, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A
Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, U.S.A