Born c.1910, Alhalkere (Soakage Bore), Northern Territory. Utopia people, Arandic ‘skin’ moiety, Anmatyerre language. Died 1996, Alhalkere (Soakage Bore), Northern Territory.
In a short but brilliant career, Emily Kame Kngwarreye carved out a deserved reputation as one of Australia’s most important artists. Her unique art encompasses the breadth, substance, history and meaning of her precious land, which was her enduring subject.
Kngwarreye had no formal art education but learned the mark making and composition of the Anmatyerre tradition in which she was raised. Her first foray into art in western media was through batik in the late 1970s, but it was when she began painting on canvas in 1988 that she found her true medium. Over the next eight years she produced an outstanding body of work that drew on the history, stories, geography, vegetation and substance of her land.
Kngwarreye’s work is included in public, corporate and private collections. In 1997 she represented Australia posthumously at the Venice Biennale, and in 1997 the Queensland Art Gallery staged a major retrospective of her work that travelled throughout Australia. In 2011 a second major survey travelled from the National Museum in Canberra to Osaka and Tokyo, Japan.