Joy Petyarre was born in 1962 at Boundary Bore in the Utopia region. Her mother is Glory Ngale and her sister Annie Petyarre, both artists of renown. Along with several members of her family, Petyarre was involved in the ‘Utopia Women’s’ project spearheaded by Robert Holmes a’Court in the late 1980s. The project established Utopia as being at the heart of the burgeoning Indigenous art scene, and provided the formal start to Petyarre’s art practice. Her paintings focus on stories of Spinifex ,Yam Dreamings, Bush Seed, Alkwe (Bush Plum), Kudjera (Bush Tomato) and Bush Raisin Dreamings, all of which are abundant bush tuckers found in her home country. Petyarre also paints women’s stories, particularly that of Awelye (ceremonial body painting).
Petyarre’s expansive yet delicate dot work sprawls across her canvas to evoke the vastness of her desert country. Her works are sought after for their ephemeral and organic dot-work. Alhalkere Country showcases the artists’ intuitive use of colour and brushwork whilst demonstrating her deep connection to her country. In this painting Josie has depicted the movement of the Desert sands, the dense Spinifex grasses, different flowers and native foods growing in the region.
Australian National Gallery, Canberra
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
Holmes a’ Court Collection, Perth