Emily Kam Kngawarray (Emily Kame Kngwarreye)(circa 1916-1996) My Country, 1993 (stretcher size) 126.5 x 362.5cm (49 13/16 x 142 11/16in).(image size)

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Lot 15
Emily Kam Kngawarray
(Emily Kame Kngwarreye)(circa 1916-1996)
My Country, 1993 (stretcher size) 126.5 x 362.5cm (49 13/16 x 142 11/16in).(image size)

Sold for AU$ 414,800 (US$ 268,205) inc. premium
Emily Kam Kngawarray (Emily Kame Kngwarreye)(circa 1916-1996)
My Country, 1993
inscribed verso with Delmore Gallery cat.93L053
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
133.5 x 370.0cm (52 9/16 x 145 11/16in).(stretcher size) 126.5 x 362.5cm (49 13/16 x 142 11/16in).(image size)

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Delmore Gallery, Northern Territory
    Sotheby's, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 30 June 1997, lot 222
    The Collection of Sir Elton John and David Furnish (label attached verso)

    EXHIBITED
    Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, 26 February - 13 April 2008; the National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan, 28 May - 28 July 2008; National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 22 August - 12 October 2008

    LITERATURE
    Margo Neale and Benita Tunks (eds.), Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbun Tōkyō Honsha, Tokyo, 2008, p.158-159, cat. C-8 (illus.), p.236 (Japanese edition); National Museum of Australia Press, Canberra, 2008, p.126 (illus.) (English edition)

    Painted in early summer of 1993, My Country can be read as a visual florilegium of abundant plant growth, expressed with a gestural intensity and bravado that emerges from a deep understanding of the forces of nature at work across Kngwarray's traditional lands of Alhalker. While there is no one-to-one interpretative schema of the brush marks and dotted lines, the artist alludes to the 'sporadic growth of plants in different stages of maturity'.1 The colours however do reflect various times of the season when flowers blossom, flowers on plants that are used as a source of food, seeds to make damper, medicines, love potions and to decorate ceremonial regalia. The yellow ochre in the painting is a specific reference to the pencil yam plant arlatyey or anwelarr (anooralya) and its seed-bearing flowers or kam that construct Emily's totemic identity and her tribal name.

    In his essay 'Kngwarreye Woman Abstract Painter' in Isaacs et al 1998,2 the art historian Terry Smith draws parallels between a series of Kngwarray's paintings created between mid-1992 and early 1994 that are similar to My Country (including The Alhalkere Suite, 1993, in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia), 3 with Claude Monet's Nymphéas and his grand paintings at the Musée de L'Orangerie in Paris. Smith discusses the fluidity of execution of the works borne of an intimate knowledge both of flora and of paint, and the differing sense of space and emotion created by the artists. The one common feature of both series of paintings, however, is a sense of immersion that is experienced by the viewer engaging with the works.


    1.Delmore Gallery certificate accompanying the painting, cat.93L053.
    2. Jennifer Isaacs, Terry Smith, Judith Ryan et al., Emily Kngwarreye Paintings, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1998, pp.32-35.
    3.Illus. in Margo Neale (ed), Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Paintings from Utopia, Queensland Art Gallery and Macmillan, Brisbane, 1998, (English edition), pp.113-4, pl.71, cat. no.63; and in Neale and Tunks, 2008 pp.156-7, pl.C-7.

    Wally Caruana

    This painting is accompanied by Delmore Gallery documentation.

    Please note the painting is currently stretched to display areas of the black border.
Contacts
Emily Kam Kngawarray (Emily Kame Kngwarreye)(circa 1916-1996) My Country, 1993 (stretcher size) 126.5 x 362.5cm (49 13/16 x 142 11/16in).(image size)
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