Born: c. 1952, Boundary Bore, Utopia NT.
Country: Utopia, NT.
Rosemary Bird Petyarre is niece of renowned Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye. She is sister to Jeannie Petyarre and half-sister to artists Greeny Purvis Petyarre and Evelyn Pultara. Rosemary is also a skin sister to other well-known artists including Gloria Petyarre, Kathleen Petyarre and Ada Bird Petyarre so it is clear painting was her destiny.
Rosemary was one of a group of Anmatyerre women at the forefront of the Aboriginal art movement in the Utopia region. Like many of the women artists there, Rosemary learned the art of batik making and produced many beautiful batik works, eventually moving to painting after encouragement from her aunt Emily.
As a bush woman, Rosemary is familiar with her land and its abundant species of bush tucker, medicinal plants and native fauna. She and her sister Jeannie inherited the dreamings associated with the land and foods along with important women’s stories from her ancestors and they form the basis of her painting today. The subject of many of Rosemary’s paintings is the representation of leaves collected around her country and used for a variety of medicinal purposes. In particular, she returns again and again to Bush Yam Leaves and Bush Medicine, depicting these themes with flowing representations of the leaves.
Today, Rosemary splits her time between Utopia and Alice Springs and is considered a highly talented, established artist amongst the famous names of Aboriginal art who reside and work in Utopia. Rosemary’s paintings have been acquired by collectors worldwide.
1989 Utopia Women’s Paintings, A Summer Project
1990 A picture Story, 88 silk works from the Holmes à Court Collection, UK
1993 Central Australian Aboriginal Art & Craft Exhibition, Alice Springs NT
2008 Utopia Collection2, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2014 Desert Song, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA