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Margaret Turner Petyarre

Born: 1945

Area: Utopia, Norther Territory

Language Group: Anmatyerre

Margaret is a full blooded Aboriginal of the Alyawarre Tribe located in the Northern Territory of Australia and is related to well known artists Kathleen and Gloria Petyarre. Margaret was born at Lake Nash, near the Queensland border. She lives in Arlparra in the Utopia Region, north east of Alice Springs.

The subjects of her paintings include Body Paint (representing the lines that are painted on women´s breast durin ceremony), and the Dreamings of Bush Medicine and Bush Tucker, including the Bush Orange. The stories she tells on canvas are depicted by the traditional fine dot technique to her brush stroke which she uses when portraying bush food dreamings in particular.

She worked in batik before commencing to paint with acrylic on canvas. In 1988 she was one of the artists involved with the widely publicized Summer Batik Project, the exhibits which are held in the Robert Holmes à Court Collection. In her depiction of traditional stories she has moved from the fine dotting technique employed in her batik work to realist elements and now has reduced the iconographic elements to a minimalist use of dots. The influence of batik can be seen as she delineates the many tiny curves of her awelye (ceremonial body paint), which interweave to create her elaborate and involved images. Despite her long association with Utopia’s batik movement, it is only recently that her paintings have achieved the attention they justly deserve.

Margaret started painting on canvas in the early 1990's and her work was taken to Sydney for exhibitions. In the year 2000 she visited Sydney with other ladies from Utopia to exhibit their works. The exhibition was well received.

She was also selected as a finalist for the 2001 Australian Business Arts Foundation awards.


Selected Exhibitions:
1996 ‘Nangara’ Stichting Singt-Jan, Brugge, The Netherlands
2004 redrock gallery, Melbourne

2005 “Opening Exibition” redrock gallery South Yarra

2006 Redrock gallery, Group Exhbition, Relocation Exhibition,South Yarra, Aust

2007 June, Redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, Gallery Grand Opening Beijing, P.R China

2007 July, Redrock gallery, Group Exhibition China World Exhibition Centre, Beijing P.R China

2007 Aug, Redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, Grand Hyatt Hotel,Beijing, P.R China

2007 Nov, Redrock gallery, Group Exhibition, Internation Art Expo, Beijing, P.R China 

Selected Collections:
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
The Holmes à Court Collection, Perth
Ebes Collection
Mem Aziz Collection

Available paintings

Bush Seeds - Margaret Turner Petyarre