EVERYTHING takes time at the French luxury firm of Hermes: celebrities wait months for their Birkin and Kelly bags, named for the actresses that inspired them.And so it is 64-year-old Aboriginal artist Gloria Petyarre has waited a long time to receive her own Hermes La Reve de Gloria scarf – the one she created.Three years ago, Petyarre became the first Australian artist invited to design a Hermes scarf. Two years ago, her commission was accepted, and the scarf went on sale this year. A month ago, Petyarre’s dealer, Lauraine Diggins, took four scarves decorated with a bush medicine motif to the artist’s home in Utopia, Northern Territory.”The new scarf, it is a pretty one, that one,” Petyarre said. ”I gave one to my cousin, that artist Barbara, and one to my great-grandchild, the others I keep for me and wear for special times.”Petyarre also received her first royalty payment, to top off the €8500 she earned for the original 90 by 90 centimetre design. ”It’s a very substantial fee,” Ms Diggins said. ”If you translate that into Gloria’s painting, she would [normally] do a work three times the size of that.”Hermes’ hand-rolled silk squares are collectables that cost $530. The Queen wears hers knotted under the chin; Kylie Minogue prefers a French twist around her neck.But Hermes’ 170-year heritage did not initially impress the Aboriginal artist, whose own artistic tradition is considerably older. Petyarre is one of the founders of the famed Utopian Women’s Batik Group in Central Australia, alongside Emily Kngwarreye.Her work hangs in the National Galleries in Canberra and Melbourne, in the Lodge’s dining room, and in museums and galleries around the world. According to Ms Diggins, Petyarre was bemused by the commission.”A scarf is a scarf is a scarf,” Ms Diggins said. ”Hermes doesn’t quite figure. I think for Gloria, it was a little mundane. However, when I showed her the packaging and the box, she became quite aware it was quite special.”While Louis Vuitton pioneered the artist-as-accessory by commissioning bag designs from Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Richard Price, Hermes is also ramping up its associations with contemporary artists.It was Hermes boss Pierre-Alexis Dumas who approached Ms Diggins at a Paris art fair to invite Petyarre to design a scarf.
Nanjing Night Net

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