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Canberra Today 8°/11° | Friday, May 24, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

‘Emily’ is the NGA’s summer blockbuster

Emily Kam Kngwarray, “Yam awely,” 1995, National Gallery of Australia

“EMILY Kam Kngwarray” is the National Gallery of Australia’s summer blockbuster exhibition.

It’s a survey exhibition celebrating the art of one of the world’s most significant contemporary artists to emerge in the early twentieth century, a household name recognisable simply by her forename “Emily.”

A senior Anmatyerr woman from Utopia, north-east of Alice Springs, she shot to international fame, although her painting career began in her senior years.

Kngwarray’s power and cultural authority is outstandingly revealed in the works of art themselves.

Co-curated by Kelli Cole and Hetti Perkins, the exhibition brings together important works of Kngwarray’s career, from early batiks to her later huge paintings and wil include never-before-seen works and new acquisitions.

Kngwarray’s identity and work as an artist was integrally related to her position in the community of Anmatyerr women at Utopia, so co-curators Cole and Perkins, along with linguist Jennifer Green, undertook extensive community consultation.

“Kngwarray created thousands of works of art that drew from the vast cultural reservoir of knowledge that she channelled as an Anmatyerr matriarch of Alhalker,” says Perkins.

Cole says “this exhibition is a reminder that the stories and places Kngwarray painted are enduring, the culture that informed them is very much alive.”

“Emily Kam Kngwarray,” National Gallery of Australia, December 2 to April 28, 2024.

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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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