Kathleen Petyarre – Mountain devil lizard (Arnkerrth) dreaming.


Kathleen Petyarre was born at Atnangkere, an important water soakage for Aboriginal people on the western boundary of Utopia Station, 150 miles north-east of Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory. She belongs to the Alyawarre/Eastern Anmatyerre clan and speaks Eastern Anmatyerre, with English as her second language.

In 1996 Kathleen was the winner of the 13th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Her considerable reputation as one of the most original indigenous artists has since been confirmed nationally and internationally by her regular inclusion in exhibitions at the most reputed museums and galleries.

Kathleen Petyarre is one of the most sought-after living Aboriginal artists. She has been repeatedly nominated by the influential journal Australian Art Collector as being among ‘the 50 most collectible artists in Australia’. She has several sisters who are also well-known artists, among them Gloria, Violet, Myrtle and Jeannie Petyarre. Kathleen’s works consistently show the highest degree of innovation and are in great demand and likely to fetch the highest prices at auction.

This painting depicts Kathleen Petyarre’s Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming story about an old woman travelling across the Atnangkere country, outlining the landscape and identifying sacred sites. Her painting refers directly to the Dreaming, which was inherited from her parents. In the painting, significant sites are indicated in a map like schematic, such as the Women’s business area and the Men’s initiation areas in the center of the painting. The different coloured area to the lower right of the painting indicates important Dreaming country for Kathleen’s father and grandfather. The cross configuration of the painting indicates Dreaming tracks along which important ceremonial actions take place.

Kathleen’s style is highly refined and displays an intricate layering technique with fine dotting giving a shimmering effect and which references the skin of the Mountain Devil Lizard (Moloch Horridus) also known as Thorny Devil Lizard, a small colourful lizard that grows up to 20cm. long and lives in the Utopia region of the Northern Territory.


Mountain Devil Lizard


Kathleen Petyarre


62 x 59cm