aboriginal artist: Dolly Mills Petyarre

View all artworks by Dolly Mills Petyarre.

Dolly Mills Petyarre was born around 1934 at Boundary Bore Outstation in the Utopia Region, north east of Alice Springs. Dolly is widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal artists. Her work can be seen in major Australian and international collections. Dolly and Gloria (Glory) Mills Petyarre are full sisters to Greeny Purvis Petyarre.

Dolly, like many of the women from Utopia started with silk batik in the early 80’s. She participated in the book “Utopia – A Picture Story”, which included 88 silk batiks from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection. This book helped to confirm the artistic credibility of the artists living in the Utopia region of Australia. Her main painting subjects are Yam Dreaming and Bush Tobacco.

The patterning and vibrant colour of Dolly Mills Petyarre’s work depicts her native country of Alhalkere in the Utopia’s region north east of Alice Springs and her most important subject matter is of the “Yam Dreamings”. The Yam is one of the most stable types of bush tucker gathered in the region of Utopia. The yam has a complex root system that can spread up to twelve metres from its stalk. The plant has bright green leaves with yellow flowers and branches out over a wide area. It is commonly found in woodland areas and close to a water source.