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Emily Kngwarreye

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ABOUT  EMILY

 

“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.”  ― Pablo Picasso

 

Emily Kame Kngwarreye is one of Australia's most significant contemporary artists. Although Emily began to paint late in her life she was a prolific artist who often worked at a pace that belied her advanced age. It is estimated that she produced over 3000 paintings in the course of her eight-year painting career — an average of one painting per day.

 

For virtually two-thirds of her life she had only sporadic contact with the outside world. It was not until she was about 80 that she became, almost overnight, an artist of national and international standing. Her remarkable work was inspired by her cultural life as an Anmatyerre elder, and her lifelong custodianship of the women's Dreaming sites in her clan Country, Alhalkere.

 

It was in Alhalkere that the essence of her being resided, it was her Dreaming that was the source of the creative power, of her knowledge. So profound was her identification with Alhalkere that it infused her life and her belief system, and governed her kinship relations and connections with other people. Alhalkere was the source of her paintings — her genius loci. Even physically, Emily's pierced nose bore homage to the ancestor Alhalkere, a pierced rock standing on the Country of the same name.

 

Alhalkere was the place and the law that she continually re-created in her art. Emily Kame Kngwarreye's visions of Alhalkere are her personal cultural legacy to the world. Whenever Emily was asked to explain her paintings, regardless of whether the images were a shimmering veil of dots, a field of 'dump dump' dots, raw stripes seared across the surface or elegant black lines, her answer was always the same:

 

Whole lot, that's whole lot, Awelye (my Dreaming), Arlatyeye (pencil yam), Arkerrthe (mountain devil lizard), Ntange (grass seed), Tingu (Dreamtime pup), Ankerre (emu), Intekwe (favourite food of emus, a small plant), Atnwerle (green bean), and Kame (yam seed). That's what I paint, whole lot. 

 

The enactment of these strong cultural connections to her community and Country through kinship ties, ancestral history and law was an everyday practice that informed her art, making her life and art inseparable.

 

 

 
 
 
 

All Work by Emily Kngwarreye


  • Yam Dreaming (Body Paint) #2

    Yam Dreaming (Body Paint) #2

  • Yam Dreaming (Body Paint)

    Yam Dreaming (Body Paint)

  • Yam Dreaming

    Yam Dreaming

  • My Country

    My Country

  • Alalgura Profusion

    Alalgura Profusion

  • Abmigwa (Native Pine)

    Abmigwa (Native Pine)

  • Awelye (Body Paint)

    Awelye (Body Paint)

  • Awelye

    Awelye

  • Alkalhere Country

    Alkalhere Country

  • Summer Season

    Summer Season

  • Awelye (Emu Tracks)

    Awelye (Emu Tracks)

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