Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Emily Kame Kngwarreye

ca. 1910–1996

Artist Details

Birth Place
Utopia Station, Australia
Death Place
Utopia Station, Australia
Phonetic Spelling
EHM-ih-lee kuhm koom-WAH-ree
Drawings and prints; Painting; Textiles and clothing
Traditional art
Places of Residence
Utopia Station, Australia
Bush workshop on Batik, Utopia Station, Australia, 1977
Retrospective Exhibitions

Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, National Museum of Australia, 2008; Emily Kame Kngwarreye: Solo Exhibition, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne, Australia, 1996; Floating Forests of Silk, Adelaide Festival Center, Adelaide, Australia, 1981

NMWA Exhibitions

Trove: The Collection in Depth, 2011
Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Painters, 2006

About the Artist

Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye was a senior member of the Anmatyerre language group in Utopia, an isolated desert region in central Australia.

Kngwarreye began painting on canvas in her late seventies after decades of ritual artistic activity and batik fabric painting. Unlike most desert painters at the time, Kngwarreye did not use stylized representations of animal tracks or concentric circles in her designs. Instead, she employed richly layered brushstrokes or dabs throughout her abstract compositions. Her free handling of paint using various implements, keen sense of color, and dynamic compositions earned her international fame.

Kngwarreye was also extremely prolific, executing an estimated three thousand paintings in an eight-year period. Her work received immediate attention from critics, collectors, and fellow artists, and she was represented posthumously in the 1997 Venice Biennale.

National Museum of Women in the Arts