One of Australia’s most interesting painters was an old Aboriginal woman that didn’t start painting until she was about 70 and wouldn’t know a Rembrandt from a Rothko, but she painted like an angel. Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1910-1996) only painted for a short time but was very prolific, pumping out around 3000 paintings in eight short years.
The genius of the old woman from the remote desert community of Utopia, in the Northern Territory of Australia is starting to be acknowledged at auction with her 1995 work “Earth’s Creation” selling for more than a million dollars in 2007.
“Emily Kngwarreye’s paintings are a response to the land and the spiritual forces which imbue it; the contours and formations of the landscape, climatic changes, the parched earth and flooding rains, the shapes and patterns of seeds and plants.” From a biography of Emily Kngwarreye at the National Gallery of Australia
The Exhibition “Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye” has recently been to Japan at the National Museum of Art in Osaka and The National Art Centre in Tokyo, where 120 works by Kngwarreye were on display. The exhibition will now go on show at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra until the 12th of October 2008. Which means that I might have to reward myself with a roadtrip, a few nights in a nice hotel, and a ticket to an exhibition. I may have to pop over to the National Gallery of Australia while I’m in Canberra and say hello to DeKooning’s ugly Woman V, Pollock’s big Blue Poles, an Anselm Kiefer, and Freud’s tribute to Cezanne.
Click on Kngwarreye paintings below for bigger versions..