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Jeannie Petyarre (Pitjara)

DOB: c. 1957

BORN: Boundary Bore, Utopia
COMMUNITY: Utopia, Northern Territory

Jeannie Petyarre (Pitjara) was born into a family of widely-celebrated Aboriginal artists on the Boundary Bore Outstation of Utopia. She is the niece of the late great Emily Kame Kngwarreye, her sister is Rosemary Petyarre, and her half siblings are Evelyn Pultara (2005 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award winner) and Greeny Purvis Petyarre.


In the early 1980s, Jeannie was introduced to the art of Batik, and she was then encouraged by Emily to continue to paint her family's Yam Dreaming. In 1990, her work was chosen to be part of the Robert Holmes a Court Collection, which toured extensively and was featured in their book Utopia – A Picture Story.


All of Jeannie's Dreamtime stories come from the Alhalkere Country and are passed down to her from her father's side. Jeannie paints the Yam Seed, Yam Leaf, Yam Flower Dreamings, Body Paint, Mountain Devil Lizard and My Country Dreamings. Jeannie's tribal name is "Angiltha", which means little lizard.


The Bush Medicine Plant is an Australian native that grows wild in Central Australia. Women go to different places around Utopia to collect leaves from these plants. Back at the camp, the leaves are boiled to extract the resin. Kangaroo fat is mixed into the resin, creating a paste that can be stored for a long time in bush conditions. This medicine is used to heal cuts, wounds, bites, rashes and also acts as an insect repellent.


Jeannie has participated in various group exhibitions around Australia and several exhibitions toured the USA, United Arab Emirates, France, Italy, Turkey, and China. Some of her paintings are held in well-known and highly regarded collections such as the Holmes à Court Collection and the National Gallery of Australia. 

Jeannie Petyarre painting

Title: Bush Medicine Leaves

Artist: Jeannie Petyarre (Pitjara)

Acrylic on canvas

Painted: 2017

Size: 100cm x 64cm approximately

Catalogue number: JP0117

Price: $5,000.00

Provenance: Private Collection

Location: Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

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