Emily Kame Kngwarreye circa 1910-1996
- Wild Yam 2
- Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
- 150cm by 240cm
The Holt Collection
The Thomas Vroom Collection, The Netherlands
These three works were painted with a bravura born of decades of mark making, yet they reflect an inner resolve and quiet contemplative aura that is found in the work of great artists coming to the end of their lifetimes. The paintings are defining expressions of a concept that Kngwarreye carried throughout her work, the relationship between the body and the canvas, the physicality of the gesture and the scale of the painting support, that which the art historian Sasha Grishin refers to these as ‘the rhythmic human scale of performance in her linear mark making’ (Grishin 2013:457). These paintings also situate the artist within her ancestral landscape. Kngwarreye identified herself through her principal totem, kame, the seed of the pencil yam: the torrents of markings in these pictures are the spread of the roots of the yam throughout her country, Alhalkere, transforming the paintings into personalised landscapes, replete with ancestral energy and brilliance, as the artist pondered, perhaps, the ancestral realm she was about to enter.