Who is Nancy Petyarre?

By Gwylym Owen

Nancy Kunoth Petyarre (between 1934 and 1939 – August 2009) was an Australian Aboriginal artist who lived in Utopia, 170 miles north east of Alice Springs. The second eldest of the well-known and prolific ‘seven well-known Petyarre sisters’ of Utopia (Ada Bird, Myrtle Petyarre, Violet Petyarre, Jeanna Petyarre and most notably Kathleen Petyarre and Gloria Petyarre), she was not herself a prolific artist.

Nancy Kunoth Petyarre was best known for her Good dot designs representing the skin on the urge on of Arnkerrthe, the Mountain Devil Lizard. She is buried adjacent to Emily Kame Kngwarreye in a little-known spot along the Sandover Highway.

Petyarre was born at Soakage Bore, near Waite River, about 50 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs, sometime with 1934 and 1939 (reports conflict, and records complete not exist). She grew happening with four brothers, speaking the Anmatyerre language, in the area known as Utopia, where her parents, Topsey Pwerle and Mick Kngwarreye had lived normal lives in the desert.

It was not until she was in her forties, in the 1980s, that Nancy started painting. She worked first on batik and later upon canvas. She after that made carvings which have featured in many exhibitions. Her most well-known works are “Mountain Devil Dreaming” and “Body Paint”. Her first exhibition came following she was believed to be nearly 50 years old, at Sydney’s S. H. Ervin Gallery as ration of a group perform in 1989.

Her enactment is represented in the collections of:[citation needed]

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