Katjara Butler

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DOB: 1946
Born: Kuun, Tjukurla, WA
LANGUAGE GROUP: Ngaanyatjarra, Pintupi

Katjara was born near Tjukurla in WA (c 1946) and grew up in the bush with her extended family group. It was in 1966 that they were transported by truck to the settlement of Papunya.

Her parents are Iilyiwara Tjungurrayi and Mangkatji Nangala. Katjara often paints dreamings of the site Kuurrmankutja and Marrapirnti.

Katjarra was the second wife to Anatjari Tjakamarra, one of the founding painters at Papunya. Her older sister Nguya was Anatjari's first wife. Her father was IilyiwaraTjungurrayi and her mother was Mangkatji Nangala.

Katjarra was born quite close to Kurlkurta and Puurrungu at a place called Kuun, where there is a waterhole. Kuun is the name for yellow ochre. There is also a place very close to Kuun that Katjarra refers to as her home and it is one of her tjukurpa or dreaming which she paints. It is called Kuurrmankutja. This place is home to the two kuniya (python) dreaming. The other dreaming that she paints is Marrapinti.

Her paintings depict " tali" sandhills ,"puli" rocks & "kungka" women painting up & preparing for ceremony. Many of her works include "kampurrarpa" or bush raisin which is collected. Her work has a rawness to it evoking the true feel of a desert sand mosaic.


  • W&V McGeoch Collection, Melbourne
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Araluen Collection, Alice Springs
  • South Australian Museum, Adelaide
  • Luciano Benetton Collection, Venice

Awards and Recognition

2021 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney - Finalist
2021 38th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2018 Alice Art Prize, Alice Springs - Finalist
2018 Port Headland Art Prize - Finalist
2018 Albany Art Prize - Finalist
2016 Wyndham Art Prize - Winner


Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Community XII - 50 Years of Papunya Tula Artists, Utopia Art, Sydney
2021 Walykumunu! Rikina Way!, Tjarlirli + Kaltukatjara Art, Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree
2021 Desert Mob 30, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
2021 Tjarlirli Rocks, JGM Gallery, London
2021 Merry-Go-Round, JGM Gallery, London
2020 Tjukurrpalampatju - Our stories, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Tjukurla Masters, Yaama Ganu, Moree NSW
2020 Salon des Refuses, Charles Darwin Univeristy Art Gallery, Darwin
2020 London Art Fair, JGM Gallery, London
2020 Group Women's Show, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
2019 Adazzle, JGM Gallery, London
2018 Tjungu - Coming Home - new work from Tjarlirli Art, Outstation Gallery, Darwin
2018 Summer Salon, Raft Artspace, Alice Springs
2017 Salon des Refuses, Charles Darwin University Art Gallery, Darwin
2016 Power. Colour. Sotry, Harvey Art Projects, USA