Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming-Sand-Hill Country (after Hailstorm)

Kathleen Petyarre Australian (Aboriginal)

Not on view

This painting showcases Petyarre’s refined technique in which she layers multiple fields of intricate dots to create tiny details as well as images that expand across the canvas. The integrated speckled surfaces refer to the landscape and also stimulate epic dreaming narratives, an important concept in Aboriginal culture in which the epic deeds of creator-ancestors exist in a reality beyond the mundane that encompasses both the spiritual and physical worlds. The pattern here recalls the spots on the skin of the Mountain Devil Lizard (Arnkerrth)—an ancestral being who takes the form of a small, spike-covered lizard—as well as the seeds and small ants it eats and the track marks it makes as it scuttles across the expansive desert after a sudden hailstorm. Never intended merely as a literal depiction of the land, the painting also operates as a visual metaphor to actively invoke a particular set of relationships between beings, history, and nature.

Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming-Sand-Hill Country (after Hailstorm), Kathleen Petyarre (Australian (Aboriginal), ca. 1938–2018 Alice Springs), Acrylic on canvas

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