Katjarra Butler is renowned for her wide luscious brush strokes and innovative style. Her artistic process, often involving the application of numerous layers of paint, builds a fullness and depth distinctive in her work. Butler combines traditional symbols in a highly contemporary rendering of Ngaanyatjarra stories, culture, and landscape.
Butler 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. She often paints dreamings of the site Kuurrmankutja and Marrapirnti. Butler was the second wife to Anatjari Tjakamarra, one of the founding painters at Papunya.
Butler was born near Tjukurla in Western Australia, quite close to Kurlkurta and Puurrungu at a place called Kuun (the name for yellow ochre), where there is a waterhole. There is also a place very close to Kuun that Butler refers to as her home, and is the site of one of her “Tjukurpa's” or Dreamings, the subject of many of her paintings. It is called Kuurrmankutja. This place is home, to the two Kuniya (python) Dreamings. The other Dreaming that she paints is Marrapinti.
Butler's paintings depict “Tali" sandhills," Puli” rocks & “Kungka” women painting and preparing for ceremonies. Many of her works include “Kampurrarpa” or bush raisin. Her work has a distinct rawness, evoking the true feel of a desert sand mosaic.