• Artwork:Bush Leaf
  • Artist:Gloria Petyarre
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Artwork Journal
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Bush Leafby Gloria Petyarre

The cover of the Artwork journal depicts an reproduction image of artwork titled Bush Leaf by Aboriginal artist Gloria Petyarre. The depiction refers to particular leaves from plant species, which contain medicinal properties. Aboriginal women from Utopia in Central Australia gather the leaves. The leaves are boiled, resin is added and mixed into a paste, which is used as bush medicine for many ailments. The Bush Leaf is celebrated in Awelye ceremonies.


  • Artist:Gloria Petyarre
  • Title:Bush Leaf
  • ID:AB002
  • Medium:Hard cover A5 approx 112 blank pages
  • Size:16 x 22 cm
  • Region:Utopia, Central Australia


When I (Sabine Haider, Director of Central Art) think of Gloria Petyarre I have to smile, she is a no nonsense woman with a good sense of humour. She is strong and bold just like her artworks. I have known Gloria for many years and find her artworks to be soothing for the soul. When I glaze upon her artworks all my senses come to life, particularly her Bush Medicine Dreaming paintings – I can almost feel, hear, see the grass swaying in the wind on a hot summers day.

Gloria Tamerre Petyarre was born in approximately 1945 and is from Atnangkere soakage in the Utopia region in Central Australia. She is part of the Anmatyerre language group. Gloria is a very well know artist and significant figure in contemporary Indigenous Australian art. Gloria and her five sisters, Kathleen Petyarre, Ada Bird Petyarre (now passed away), Myrtle Petyarre, Violet Petyarre and Nancy Petyarre (now passed away) are all talented artists and the nieces of the famous Utopian artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

Gloria became involved in the Utopian art movement like many others from this generation, through the community project titled “Utopia – A Picture Story” in the late 1970’s, it was a joint venture which brought silk batik making into the community. The women would use their traditional designs and depict these on the silk batiks. It was a huge success resulting in the whole collection being acquired by the Holmes a Court Collection and Australian and overseas exhibitions. Gloria became one of the founding members of the Utopia Women’s Batik Group. Her batik depicted Emu Dreaming uses traditional Aboriginal iconography throughout the work. The Emu and Mountain Devil Lizard are Dreamings from Atnangkere country.

In 1989 Gloria was also involved in the “Summer Project” at Utopia where canvas and acrylic paints were introduced to the women. The result was an explosion of creative flair and the beginning of some fascinating artistic careers. In 1990 she travelled to Ireland, England and India as part of the “Utopia – A Picture Story” exhibition and held her first solo exhibition in 1991.

Gloria is the custodian of several Dreaming stories including the Pencil Yam, Bean, Emu, and Mountain Devil Lizard. Her paintings are monochromatic or multi coloured and very distinguishable for their well defined segments filled with curved lines. It evokes a strong rhythmic quality to her works. Her works have evolved into abstract fields that represent leaves, grasses and body paint. A clear example of this is her “Bush Medicine Leaves” which depict leaves from plant species which are used for medicinal purposes in traditional healing practices. The women from Utopia would gather the leaves and boil them, resin was added and mixed into a paste, and this was then used as bush medicine to treat many ailments. This practice still continues today and is honoured in Awelye (women’s business) ceremonies. Gloria is an experimentalist with her images based on the flora and fauna surrounding her country, as you admire her paintings you can almost see and feel the wind sweeping through the grasses.

She has been credited as the creator of this fine style and whilst this is certainly a popular design and she is the most collectable artist to use this style, she has a vast body of experience, knowledge and Dreamings to draw on. In recent years she has moved away slightly from her finely detailed strokes to create “Big Leaves”, where she uses thick brush strokes to depict her Medicine Dreaming.

In 1995/6 Gloria was awarded a full fellowship grant from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board of the Australia Council and in 1999 she won Australia’s longest running art prize, The Wynne Prize. She was the first Aboriginal person to win a major prize from the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It was after this award that her career really began to take off. On four occasions she has also been a finalist of Australia’s most prestigious art award, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.

Gloria Petyarre’s artworks have been exhibited widely around Australia and overseas, including, Europe, North America and Asia and her paintings are held in some of the most important art collections around the world. She is certainly one of the most collectable and famous living and working Aboriginal artists today.

Central Art has a wide variety of Gloria’s artworks and have many examples of her two most well known Dreamings – Bush Medicine Dreaming and Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming. There is a wide variety of beautiful colours to choose from. We have some very large artworks with some just under 2 meters long. Her fine brush strokes create twists and turns over the canvas and are mesmerizing to watch. We also have some lovely small artworks so all our clients have the potential to own their very own Gloria Petyarre painting.

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Artist has Passed Away

1945 - 2021

Out of respect for Aboriginal culture Central Art has removed the artist's photograph.

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