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Evelyn Pultara (Petyarre)


Bush Yam (Atnwelarr) and Seed (Kame)  |  120h x 120w  |  RK863

Not framed or stretched  |  Acrylic on canvas

Evelyn Pultara (c. 1940) was born at Woodgreen Station, a cattle property adjoining Utopia Station, around the time of the outbreak of World War II. She is the niece of renowned artist the late Emily Kngwarreye and the sister of Greeny Purvis Pultara (Petyarre), both of whom share with Evelyn the plant totem of the bush yam. Evelyn is now a senior custodian of the Dreaming of the bush yam. When she began painting in 1997 her work featured traditional bush tucker and Awelye (women's ceremonial body paint) designs. However, she now exclusively paints the bush yam (Antwelarr)

Evelyn began her career much later than others of her age and prestige. The Utopia Art movement began in 1978 with the Utopia Women's Batik Group and moved on to acrylic painting during CAAMA's Summer Project in 1988. Evelyn began painting with depictions of traditional bush tucker and Awelye (women's ceremonial body paint designs) in 1997 well after it began, but quickly became a sought after artist with her representation of the Pencil Yam Dreaming.

Atnwelarr, the pencil yam, and Kame, the seed of this plant, are very important Dreamtime stories that belong to Evelyn's country Alhalkere in the Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs. The Atnwelarr is a trailing herb or creeper, sometimes covering large areas, with bright green leaves, yellow flowers and long skinny yams (swollen roots) which are an important food source and can be eaten raw or cooked in hot sand and ashes. It has been said that Evelyn's paintings impart the rhythm of the yam corroborree enacted and retold through song and dance and it is her responsibility to pay homage to it in this way, and now also through her artwork.

In 2005, Evelyn won first prize in the General Painting section of the 22nd Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin. This award is the most prestigious art award for indigenous artists in Australia.


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