Gloria Petyarre is an Aboriginal artist from the Anmatyerre community, just north of Alice Springs. She is a significant figure in the Contemporary Indigenous art world. Gloria lived at the Utopia community after 1977, where she started batik painting, exhibiting in shows around Australia for ten years. She began work on the 'Summer Project' in 1989 which involved translating the batik paintings onto canvas. She was one of the founding members of this Utopia Women's Batik Group.
She paints several Dreamtime stories such as Pencil Yam, Bean, Emu, Mountain Devil Lizard and Small Brown Grass. Her paintings – monochromatic or multi-coloured - are distinguishable for their well-defined segments filled with curved lines, and evoke a strong rhythmic quality. Her style has evolved into abstract fields that represent the bush medicine leaves, grasses and bodypaint.
Mountain Devil Lizard ( OR DESERT LIZARD)
This work depicts the Mountain Devil Lizard Dreamtime story about an old woman travelling across the Atnangker country outlining the landscape and identifying sacred sites. The Mountain Devil Lizard dreaming story is Gloria Petyarre’s totem, with the responsibility to look after the lizard. The Mountain Devil Lizard (Moloch horridus) is a small, colourful lizard that is covered in conical spines in camouflage shades of cream, brown and tan. It grows up to 20cm long and lives in the Utopia region of the Northern Territory in Australia. The Anmatyerre and Alyawerre people of Utopia have a special Dreamtime story about the lizard, believing that the lizard carries coloured ochre (natural earth pigments) in the sack around its neck and is responsible for the distribution of ochre (colour) throughout the desert landscape. The Mountain Devil Lizard is also known as the Thorny Devil Lizard.