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Josie Petrick Kemarre

Born: 1953, Santa Teresa Mission

Josie commenced painting some eighteen years ago. Since that time she has achieved a high level of sophistication in the interpretation of traditional women’s stories. Using minimal Aboriginal iconography, she usually depicts the gathering of bush food in an interesting modern interpretation of the abundance of bush fruits.

She has always lived a semi-traditional lifestyle, spending her early years foraging - searching for bush foods. This was the way of life for Central Desert families throughout the generations, this was their formal education, what living each day was all about - just as her mother had done, her mother’s mother and her grandmother’s mother before that.

Josie's first job was working at the Santa Teresa Mission as a chef, with memories of making them all soup. She met her husband Robin there and after her bush marriage moved with him to an area of Utopia called Mt Swan. Together they have 7 children 3 girls and 4 boys. She has also grown up her younger sister’s son.

Josie’s earlier works are quite typical of Utopia Art, much line work depicting Body paint designs and many traditional symbols seen in Central Desert Dot paintings. Her most recent collection titled Bush Tucker & Wild Flower Dreaming portrays the abundance of colours found within the landscape of the Central Desert.

Josie creates visual harmony within her dotted constructions, capturing the essence of the Utopian landscape as she experiences it in desert life. Her work is a fine example of the development of Central Desert dot painting from traditional and ‘tight’ constructions to a fusion of abstracted forms revealing a spiritual and cultural celebration. Josie has a special affinity with colour which make her works glow. As humans we all react to colour, varying hues stir up emotions inside of us that we subconsciously relate to. Her colour choice and combinations express a powerful vision - merging complementary and conflicting tones to create a kaleidoscope of joy. Her love of being an artist is evident in the energetic canvases produced and her incredible ability to touch each one of us in a special kind of way. Through her work she communicates simplicity and innocence, qualities which make Josie an artist of great talent and potential.


1995 Aboriginal Desert Art Gallery, Australia
1995 Jinta Desert Art Sydney, Australia 
1996 Perth, Australia 
1996 Melbourne, Australia
1999 “Dotted Design”Embassy of Australia, Washington DC., USA
1999 Old Treasury Building, Melbourne, Australia 
1999 Embassy of Australia, New York City, USA 
1999 “Out of Australia” Lui Hai-Su National Art Museum, Shanghai, China
1999 United Nations, New York City, USA 
2002, 2003, 2005 Redrock Gallery, Melbourne, Australia 

2005 Wellington Gallery, Hong Kong

2006 redrock gallery, Group Exhbition, Relocation Exhibition, South Yarra, Australia

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:

Aboriginal Desert Art Gallery, Alice Springs
Aboriginal Art Galleries of Australia, Melbourne
Charles Sturt University Collection
Jinta Desert Art Sydney
Mem Aziz Collection, Melbourne


Highest price for artist in Lawson and Menzies Auction House:
Sunset Dreaming (Bush Tucker Dreaming) 2002, $5,040

Available paintings

Bush Flowers