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Painting by Utopia artist Gary Bird


Gary Bird (b. 1983)

Tyankern (Mulga Berries) Dreaming 

​30 x 30cm. Acrylic on linen Canvas

  • Artist

    Gary paints the story of the Ahakeye. This a very important story for Gary that belongs to his country, Ilkawerne (El-go-an-na) . The ahakeye, called bush plum in English by Gary, is also known as the native currant or citrus. This shrub produces small white flowers, deep green citrus-like leaves and the ahakeye, which are black when ripe and very small. This fruit is favoured for its sweet taste and can be reconstituted in water if dry.


    Born in 1983, Gary is a younger son of Paddy Bird and Eileen Bird, grandson of Ada Bird Petyarre.

    Gary's country and stories are passed down from his ancestors. His stories are associated to Mulga Bore country where he lives and where Lindsay Bird Mpetyane is the chief custodian. His style of painting reflects the work of his brothers and father.

  • Utopia

    Utopia has produced some of the most recognisable names in Aboriginal art and is notable for its strong tradition of discovering female artists. This continues today with a new generation of talented painters who are inspired by greats such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Gloria Petyarre, Kathleen Petyarre and Ada Bird who worked at Utopia.

    The legacy of these pioneering woman is a diversity of style and approach that welcomes hundreds of other artists from the Utopia clan groups.

    It is a region of approximately 5,000 sq km north-east of Alice Springs and is home to around 2,000 aboriginal people. The region largely lies on aboriginal owned land called Urapuntja, it is made up of several larger communities and some very small ones!

    Art is by far the largest source of employment in an area which lacks employment opportunities and skills. There are well over 250 professional artists in the region, most of them have never attended an art class!

    The creative movement in Utopia began with batik and the work they produced came to international attention and was exhibited around the world. When painting reached the communities in the late 1980’s, acrylic paint on canvas with its quick drying and no mess properties, soon overtook batik.

    This is a multi-generational art movement that has led Utopia's artists to become leaders in female aboriginal art.

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