ARTIST: Gloria Tamerre Petyarre c.1942 –
TITLE: Bush Leaf Medicine (Large)
LANGUAGE/REGION: Anmatyerre/Utopia, Alice Springs – NT
YEAR: 2011
DIMENSIONS: 147.0cm x 90.0cm
MEDIUM: synthetic polymer paints on Belgian linen

DREAMINGS: Bush Leaf Medicine, Emu Dreaming, Mountain Devil Lizard, Women’s Body Paint

Gloria Petyarre was born around 1945 in Atnangker Soakage, Northern Territory. She is the niece of the late and famous Emily Kame Kngwarreye (c.1910-1996). Gloria’s family lineage is full of emerging, established and collectible Aboriginal artists. Gloria has been creating contemporary Indigenous art for over 40 years and her simplistic lines and style has found favour with collectors and art lovers all over the world. Beginning her art career in 1977 as part of the women’s Batik Program, she emerged as one of the artists in the 1980’s to permanently paint  acrylic on canvas. In 1990, Gloria’s art painted on silk batik titled ‘Emu Dreaming’ was featured as one of the 88 silk batiks in the Robert Holmes á Court Collection and featured in their book “Utopia – A Picture Story”. Since then, Gloria has become a significant artist within the Utopia region and her work has found its own style through the years collaborating abstract, movement and simplicity in her canvasses.

Gloria remains to be one of the most sought after Indigenous artists of our time and is a great representation of an ongoing successful Utopia artist. Gloria currently resides with her children and grandchildren between Alice Springs and Utopia in the Northern Territory, Australia.

‘Bush Leaf Medicine’ Dreaming

Bush leaf medicine plays a vital role within the Indigenous communities of Australia. The Bush leaf medicine Dreaming is integral to the health and continuous existence of Aboriginal people co-existing with the arid desert environments of Outback Australia. Gloria Petyarre’s ‘Bush Leaf Medicine’ artistic design of light brushstrokes using a large flexible brush to imitate the movement of the bush medicine leaves as they would be found in nature was a first in Aboriginal Art. Many Utopia artists have adopted similar interpretations of the bush leaf medicine due to its universal aesthetic appeal. The women of Utopia traverse the lands to collect the healing leaves for their families and community. It is commonly boiled in water to extract the resin. After extraction, kangaroo fat is then mixed through to create a paste that can be stored in the bush for extended periods. The medicine is pre-dominantly used to heal ailments such as bites, cuts, burns and rashes. It is also used as an insect repellent. Gloria likes to infuse the leaves in hot water and drinks it like tea for good health.

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