Esther Haywood is part of the exciting next generation of Utopian artists who are using artmaking as a means to uphold their commitment to traditional culture and knowledge. She belongs to the Alyawarre language group and associates with her grandmothers country of Atnangkere in the Utopia region, approximately 230kms north east of Alice Springs.
As a child Esther was surrounded by celebrated Utopian artists who had led the way in depicting their ancient dreaming stories in a highly contemporary and expressive manner. Her aunties include the late Ada Bird Petyarre and Kathleen Petyarre and her cousin is Gracie Pwerle Morton.
Her grandmother, internationally acclaimed artist Gloria Petyarre (deceased), taught her the songs, dances and body paint designs to all the stories that belong to her Atnangkere country. In later years, Esther also cared for her grandmother and assisted her with painting.
Esther’s intimate knowledge of her culture and Country, as well as her considerable experience in painting with acrylics and canvas, has resulted in an extraordinary body of work for an artist who has only painted in her own right for a short number of years. Her sense of artistic authority has developed quickly and she is exciting everyone with the boldness and beauty of her paintings.
She carries on her grandmother’s bush medicine leaf style. Bush Medicine leaves are healing leaves of the Kurrajong tree used by women from the Utopia region in traditional bush medicines. Through painting, Esther pays homage to the spirit of the bush medicine leaves to ensure its regeneration, so her people can continue to benefit from its medicinal powers.
As an artist Esther has an incredible eye for detail and beautiful use of colour. Her works are radiant and dynamic. We look forward to seeing Esther develop on her incredible talent in the coming years.