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Jeannie Petyarre

"Bush Yam Seeds" by Jeannie Petyarre


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  • 200cm by 107 cm
  • Acrylic paint on canvas 

About Jeannie

Jeannie Petyarre (Pitjara) was born in c.1956 on the Boundary Bore Outstation of Utopia in Central Australia. An established artist in Utopia, Jeannie is the niece of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye. In the early 1980s, when Jeannie was living at Boundary Bore Outstation with her family, husband Henry Long Kemarre, and their six children, Jeannie was introduced to the art of Batik. Jeannie was encouraged by her aunt, Emily Kngwarreye to continue to paint her family's Yam Dreaming. In 1990, her work was chosen to be part of the Robert Holmes à 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.

About the artwork

The Yam story is well represented further south on the Utopia Homelands of Central Australia, where the artists show the ceremonial links of the Anmatyerre people to the Yam as a source of sustenance in the desert. Artists like Jeannie Petyarre, Emily Kngwarreye, Galya Pwerle, Gloria Petyarre, Jeannie Mills Pwerle and Rosemary Petyarre have established their own styles of paintings of the Yam and the women’s ceremonies associated with Yam Dreaming. Their depictions of the Yam Seed and Yam Flower are aspects of interest in the fertility of the Yam plant, and the paintings serve as ceremonies do also, to celebrate and promote the abundance of the Yam.


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. 


  • Holmes à Court Collection, Perth
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2021 Top 20 2021, Art Mob, Hobart
  • 2020 Central Focus, Art Mob, Hobart
  • 2020 Top 20 Exhibition, Art Mob, Hobart
  • 2019 Summer Show & Art Parade, Salt, Queenscliff, VIC
  • 2019 defining tradition | black + white, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
  • 2019 International Women's Day, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
  • 2011 Thinking outside the square, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
  • 2009 Jeannie Petyarre: Medicine Leaves, Aboriginal Dreaming Fine Art Gallery, Los Angeles
  • 2008 Three Petyarres", Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
  • 2006 Cicada Trading, Paris
  • 2006 Cicada Trading, Bahrain Art Society, The Kingdom of Bahrain
  • 2006 Cicada Trading, Annual Clear Lake Exhibition of Aboriginal Paintings, Houston
  • 2006 Cicada Trading, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • 2006 Cicada Trading, Dubai
  • 2005 Cicada Trading, Milan
  • 2005 Cicada Trading, Illayda, Istanbul
  • 1993 Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
  • 1990 A Picture Story Exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Holmes a Court Collection by Utopian artists which toured Eire and Scotland
  • 1989 Utopia Women's Paintings the first works on canvas