Soakage Bore - Ankerr Mern Intekw bears property of C.A.A.M.A, artist's name, title 'Emu Tucker' and Alcaston Gallery catalogue number AK399 on the reverse and on a descriptive label on the reverse of the stretcher synthetic polymer paint on linen 120 x 90cm
PROVENANCE: Painted in 1990 Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association Shop, Alice Springs Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne Property of a Melbourne collector
The work is an early canvas by Kngawarray, painted soon after the first exhibition of Utopia women's paintings, A Summer Project 1988-1989, held at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney and curated by the original representatives of the Utopia artists, the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association in Alice Springs.
The painting's surface bears a relationship to the transparency found in the batiks Kngawarray made as a member of the Utopia Women's Batik Group over the previous decade. The tracery of the meandering lines lends the work compositional structure while layers of dots appear to float above and through the picture plane. The palette is subdued akin to the traditional desert paint colours and typical of the early period of Kngawarray's painting career. When Kngawarray was producing these early paintings they were seen as being far removed from the canon of desert art and iconography, yet they express her ability to vary and innovate on traditional pictorial devices such as the circle indicating place, the line of movement or travel, and the fields of dotting that simultaneously reveal and conceal.
The Anmatyerr title of the work translates to 'Soakage Bore, a place where the food that emus eat can be found'. Emus eat the pale orange fruit of the fan-flower that is inedible for humans. The painting is the companion piece and contemporaneous to Untitled (Country with emu tracking), 1990 (illustrated in Margo Neale (ed.), Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Paintings from Utopia, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery and MacMillan, 1998, p.73, pl.41, cat. no.29).
Characteristically Kngawarray tends to encompass a personal aspect in her paintings: in this case, the site of Soakage Bore, or Atnarar, where the artist was born.
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