Gladys Kemarre 1937-2017 was born around at Mount Swan in her father’s country at Atitjere (Hart’s Range) just south of Utopia where she grew up with her sister Ally Kemarre (dec) and her brother Billy Benn Perrurle (dec).
In the 1970s she was one of the participating artists in the Utopia Women’s Batik project and from the late 1980’s continued as a painter in the medium using acrylic paints as with many of her peers.
Gladys was one of the 88 artists in the landmark exhibition A Picture Story (1988) and has been exhibited extensively world wide as well as being included in major exhibitions in Australia. Her work is held in numerous significant collections private and public including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
In 2009 she was a finalist in the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and was awarded first prize in both the Mount Buller Art Awards and City of Swan Art Awards. She was finalist in The King’s School Art Prize, The Stanthorpe Art Prize, The Albany Art Prize, The Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, The Fletcher Jones Painting Prize, The Waterhouse Natural History Prize and The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. In 2011, Gladys was announced winner of the The Fleurieu Peninsula Art of Food and Wine Prize.
Gladys’ relatives are Kathleen Ngale, Polly Ngale and Angelina Ngale at the Camel Camp outstation in Utopia. Painting is a very social practice for Gladys and the women of her community. Gladys rarely paints anything other than the anwekety (bush plum) Story, whereby fine dot work represents the sweet black conkerberry / bush plum (anwekety in Glady’s native language).