Utopia is located 270 km north-east of Alice Springs on the eastern perimeter of the Western Desert, next to the traditional Aboriginal lands of the Eastern Anmatyarre and Alyawarre people. It was named by the first white settlers in 1927 and occupies 1800 square kilometres of desert country.
In 1979 a successful land claim saw the Utopia Aboriginal community gain permanent legal title to the leasehold, and it was the Utopia women who played a key role. In 1978 the women had learned the art of batik as a means to establish a source of income in preparation for the land claim hearing. By demonstrating the economic viability of the outstations through their batik work, the women were justifying their legal and moral right to their land.
In 1988 the Aboriginal artists were introduced to the mediums of canvas and acrylic paint, which enabled them to produce paintings that were even more distinctive than the batiks. This new creative wave saw the rise of many famous artists of the Aboriginal art movement, including the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Gloria Petyarre, Kathleen Petyarre, Minnie Pwerle, Kudditji Kngwarreye, Barbara Weir, and many others. Artists from Utopia are highly regarded for the diversity and richness of their artworks.