Josepha Petrick Kemarre

Date of Birth: 10th March 1955
Language Group: Arrernte

Josepha was born and grew up at Santa Teresa Mission, approximately 80kms South East of Alice Springs. Although having grown up with the presence of a western culture, Josepha still lived a mostly traditional life, collecting bush foods, and participating in customary ceremonies.

After having married her husband, Robin Petyarre (deceased), in a bush marriage, they both moved to Mt Swan in the Utopia region, approximately 270km North East of Alice Springs. (Robin is brother to renowned artist, Gloria Petyarre). It was here that they raised seven children of their own children and also one of her nephews.

In 1990 Josepha first tried her hand at painting acrylic on canvas. She has since continued this art, painting for various galleries around Australia.

Josepha paints the Bush Plum Dreaming from her father’s country. The bush plum (carissa spinarum) grows throughout Central Australia. The fruit isn’t large but looks like a grape and is sweet to eat. Josepha represents the bush plum in her paintings through intricate dot work commonly found in reds, blues and oranges. These colours signify the various ripening stages of the bush plum. Josepha is well travelled as her art has taken her to Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

Journalist Zelda Cawthorne described Petrick as one of the “finest contemporary Aboriginal artists”. Art consultant Adrian Newstead has ranked her as amongst the country’s top 200 Indigenous artists, noting that she has become “known for innovative works that create a sense of visual harmony through fine variegated fields of immaculately applied dotting”. Her style is described by Indigenous art writers Birnberg and Kreczmanski as an “interesting, modern interpretation of landscape”.

Josepha now shares her time living between Alice Springs and Harts Range. She rarely visits Utopia anymore although some of her children continue to live out there. One of her sons, Damien Petrick, also paints and is married to another Utopian artist, Lisa Mills Pwerl.

Although she is more commonly known as Josie Petrick her name is actually Josepha and she prefers to use that name.

Charles Sturt University Collection
Aboriginal Art Galleries of Australia Artbank, Sydney
National Gallery of Victoria

1996 Aboriginal Desert Art Gallery, Melbourne
1997 Aboriginal Art Galleries of Australia, Melbourne
1999 Aboriginal Art Galleries of Australia, Melbourne
2000 Aboriginal Art Galleries of Australia, Melbourne
2001 Embassy Australia, Washington, U.S.A
2003 Chapel off Chapel Gallery, Melbourne
2005 Wellington Gallery, Central, Hong Kong
2006 Aboriginal Artists from the Western and Central Desert, Without Pier Gallery, Chelthenham, Victoria
2006 Women’s Show, Boscia Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2006 ‘Landmarks’ exhibition, National Gallery of Victoria
2008 Josie Petrick: Bush Berry Dreaming, Aranda Art, Melbourne