ARTIST: Jeannie Petyarre c.1950 –
TITLE: Bush Leaf Medicine
LANGUAGE/REGION: Anmatyerre/Utopia, Alice Springs – NT
YEAR: 2016
DIMENSIONS: 147.0cm x 120.0cm
MEDIUM: synthetic polymer paints on duck cotton

DREAMINGS: Alhalkere Country (My Country), Bush Leaf Medicine, Yam Dreaming, Women’s Body Paint, Mountain Devil Lizard

Jeannie Petyarre is an established Utopian artist and is niece to the late and famous (Aunt) Emily Kngwarreye who also encouraged her to paint. Jeannie was born in the early 1950’s on the Boundary Bore Outstation of Utopia and in the early 1980’s, Jeannie was introduced to the art of Batik. (The Batik Program in 1977 opened the doors for the people of Utopia. This program allowed artists to paint with acrylic paints for the first time.) In 1990, Jeannie’s art painted on silk batik titled ‘Alhalkere Country’ 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”.  Jeannie pays homage to her country, land and ancestors through her Dreamtime stories. Jeannie’s art and stories stem from her inherited Alhalkere country. Her family extends to a long list of artists; sister to famous artists Greeny Purvis Petyarre, Evelyn Pultara, Rosemary Petyarre and Anna Price Petyarre and the cousin of the celebrated group of female Utopian artists Gloria Tamerre Petyarre, Nancy Kunoth Petyarre, Myrtle Petyarre, Kathleen Petyarre, Violet Petyarre, Ada Bird Petyarre and Jean Petyarre. Jeannie lives in Alice Springs with her family to paint for various galleries and art dealers and often visits her traditional country.

‘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. Jeannies Petyarre’s ‘Bush Leaf Medicine’ artistic design of light brushstrokes using a flexible brush imitates the movement of the bush medicine leaves as they would be found in nature. Many Utopia artists have 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. The leaves can also be infused in hot water and served as a tea for good health.

Read more about Indigenous Culture and Community

© Dreamtime Art 2019

Please Note: This biography and Intellectual Property including Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property belongs to Dreamtime Art, the artists/their estates and is subject to copyright. To protect these copyrights, no reproduction of any or all parts is allowed unless there is prior written permission and approval by Dreamtime Art.