Ada Bird Petyarre

Born: c. 1930
Community: Utopia, NT
Language: Anmatyerre
Ada’s career as an artist began in the 1970s as a member of the acclaimed Utopia Batik Project. In 1988 she switched to acrylics on linen and had her first solo exhibition as a painter in Sydney in 1990. Her work has been part of numerous major Aboriginal Art exhibitions in Australia, Europe and the United States. Her paintings are well represented in important international public and private collections, notably the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), the Holmes a Court Collection (Perth) and the Kelton Foundation (Santa Monica, USA).

One of her favorite themes is awelye, the women’s ceremonial body paint. Her inspiration derives from the ancestral curvilinear ornamentation, painted on the face, neckline, arms and upper torso. While staying with a traditional choice of motifs, Ada has experimented with a unique palette of colors and visual patterns creating her signature free wheeling style.

Her sisters Gloria, Kathleen, Violet, Myrtle, Nancy and Jeanna are also well-known artists.

Ada is a spokesperson for the Anmetyerre people and one of the most renowned Aboriginal artists today.

Back to Gallery