Ada Bird Petyarre was involved in the art movement of Utopia since its inception. She began with the Utopia Women’s Batik Group in the late 1970’s where her work was exhibited extensively and featured on the cover of the Utopia – A Picture Story publication by A. Brody (Heytesbury Holdings, Perth, 1990). In 1988 Ada subsequently began painting with acrylics during CAAMA’s Summer Project and continued in this medium until suffering a stroke in 2004.
Ada’s work is represented in many major and private collections all over the world. She is known for her bright, bold linear patterns often incorporating breasts, indicating women’s ceremonial body paint designs associated with the Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard) Dreaming for Atnangkere and Ahalkere Country. This Dreaming story was the most significant for Ada along with her sisters, Kathleen, Gloria, Myrtle, Violet, Nancy and Jean Petyarre (also known as the Seven Petyarre Sisters).
Ada always painted like her personality: vibrant, outgoing and blatantly honest! She was a lover of bright colours, particularly blue, but also painted in more traditional and subdued colours. Fine detailed works are not traditional of her group nor were they any part of Ada’s works. She is a traditional senior Aboriginal woman who involved and expressed herself to the fullest extent both on canvas and in her ancient culture, her most favoured works being the women’s ceremonial body paint designs (awelye) for the Mountain Devil Lizard (Arnkerrthe).
This piece was painted in 1998 and is 120cm x 90cm in size.
This painting depicts Awelye or women’s ceremony/business also associated with Arnkerrth. The Aboriginal women from Utopia in Central Australia adorn their upper body with ceremonial body designs, prior to their ceremony. These Ceremonies include song lines and dance cycles to re-enact the Arnkerrth ancestor, which is led by the most senior women of the tribal group.
All the artwork provided is done on with highest quality linen canvas, acrylic paints, oils and brushes ensuring the longevity of each piece of work.