Born :           c. 1941 Woodgreen Station, NT
Language:   Anmatyerre
Country:      Utopia, NT.

Evelyn Pultara has been painting consistently since 1997 and is renowned for her paintings of the bush yam, the Totem she shares with her late aunt Emily Kngwarreye – Australia’s most notable Aboriginal Artist.

The Bush Yam is a native subterranean source of food and water.  A critical woman's role in traditional Aboriginal culture is to collect bush foods. The Yams are collected by digging deep into the soil using sharp digging utensils either made from carved wood or more commonly today, a metal crow bar. The Yams are exposed along the root system of the yam bush.

Evelyn is a prolific artist depicting in her works various linear or swirl patterns, using the most vibrant colour palette. Evelyn’s brother is the well known Utopia artist, Greeny Purvis Petyarre, and Evelyn's daughter, Rachel Nambula is also an emerging artist, depicting the bush yam in a similar style to her mother.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
The Holmes a' Court Collection, Perth
2003     Walkabout Gallery, Sydney
2004     Evelyn Pultara, abOrigena, Milan
2005     The Art of Evelyn Pultara, Gig Gallery, Sydney
2005     "Linda Syddick & Evelyn Pultara", Japingka Gallery Fremantle.
2005     22nd  Telstra National Aboriginal and Torries Strait Islander Art Awards, Darwin NT.  Evelyn won the General Painting category.
2010     Divas on the Cusp – Generation Next of the Central Desert, Jive Art, Noosa Heads, Queensland Australia.  Co curated by Susan McCulloch, McCulloch & McCulloch.

The following artwork review is by Adrian Newstead, former Managing Director of Menzies Art Brands, Head of Lawson Menzies Aboriginal art department. He us a leading Aboriginal art consultant with more than 30 years of experience. Of Evelyn Pultara, he writes:

Evelyn Pultara was born during the outbreak of World War II at Woodgreen Station, the cattle property adjoining Utopia Station and has now become a senior custodian for her Dreaming the bush yam. She began painting traditional bush tucker and awelye (women’s ceremonial body paint designs) in 1997 but went on to exclusively paint her plant totem, the bush yam.

While rarely indicating any more than necessary about the context of her paintings their content is the pencil yam (atnwelarr) a slender twining plant with yellow pea flowers and edible tubers. This has been an abundant source of food for her Anmatyerre clansmen since the dawn of creation and it is her responsibility to pay homage to it through song and dance in ceremony - and now in art.

Her Dreamings, related through haptic adventures in paint, relate the tales of the mythic totemic ancestors who made the land, its people, and its food. Through their telling and retelling and the depiction of their sites in art, these Dreamings provide a song-map that locates the water holes, ochre pits, food sources, and sacred sites of the artist’s country. It has been said that her paintings impart the rhythm of the yam corroborree enacted and retold for time in memoriam through song and dance”.

While Evelyn’s work has been exhibited since the late 1990’s her first solo exhibition was held at the World Vision Gallery in Sydney’s Leichardt. This was followed in quick succession by solo shows in Milan, Sydney and Melbourne. In 2005 she was won first prize in the General Painting section of the of the 22nd Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in Darwin”.

Return to Evelyn's art.