Emily Kam Kngawarray (Emily Kame Kngwarreye)(circa 1916-1996)
Untitled, 1996 bears artist's name and Delmore Gallery catalogue number 96G029 on the reverse synthetic polymer paint on canvas 152 x 92cm (59 13/16 x 36 1/4in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from Delmore Gallery, Northern Territory in October 1996 The Laverty Collection, Sydney
EXHIBITED: Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, 26 February - 13 April 2008; National Art Center Tokyo, Japan, 28 May - 28 July 2008; National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 22 August - 12 October 2008 Laverty 2, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 14 May - 14 August 2011 The Colin and Elizabeth Laverty collection - a selection of Indigenous and non-Indigenous art exhibition, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, 18 February - 15 April 2012
LITERATURE: Margo Neale and Benita Tunks (eds.), Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, exh. cat., Tokyo: Yomiuri Shinbun Tokyo Honsha, 2008, (Japanese edition), p.99 and p.101 (illus.), p.239; Canberra: National Museum of Australia Press, 2008 (English edition), p.193 (illus.) Colin Laverty, 'Diversity and Strength: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art - A Private Collection', Arts of Asia, November - December 2003, p.88 (illus.) Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Recent Painting from Australia's Remote Aboriginal Communities - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Melbourne: Hardie Grant Books, 2008, p.95 (illus.) Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Australian Aboriginal Art - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Edition II, Melbourne: Kleimeyer Industries, 2011, p.103 (illus.) Djon Mundine, 'Travelling from Utopia', Art Monthly, issue 250 'critical lining', June 2012, p.41 (illus.)
Painted less than two months before she passed away, Untitled, 1996, shows that Emily Kame Kngwarreye retained her mastery of gestural painting right to the end. The work is categorised in the catalogue of her Japanese retrospective as one from a series about 'sacred grasses' (Neale, M. et al, Utopia: The genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Osaka: The National Museum of Art, 2008, p.199). The connection between the subject of Kngwarreye's paintings and her processes of paint application seems to be mimetic in character, as the sweeps of brush marks evoke tall grass swaying in the breeze. The painting does refer tangentially to the ripening fruit and flowers of bush plants, as the accompanying documentation states, and it concerns knowledge of desert ecology and the laws of nature that are essential to survival. Moreover, Untitled, 1996, possesses a spiritual aspect as it relates to Awely or women's ceremonies and ritual songs, and the designs painted onto the bodies of women participants. Kngwarreye was renowned for her aptitude in body painting where the relationship between the individual, the design, country and the ancestors defines one's identity. Kngwarreye translates these attributes to canvas through the span of her brushmarks that evoke the physical relationship between the painter and the painting.
This painting is sold with accompanying Delmore Gallery documentation.