Details & Cataloguing

Aboriginal Art


Emily Kame Kngwarreye 1910-1996
Bears Delmore Gallery catalogue number 95J040 on reverse
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
152 by 91 cm
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Painted at Delmore Downs Station, Northern Territory for the Delmore Gallery in October 1995
Stefano Spaccapietra Collection, Switzerland

Catalogue Note

In 1995 Emily Kame Kngwarreye embarked on a series of gestural paintings where she took the ‘line for a walk’. Most are painted on black grounds to make a direct connection with body painting in ceremony; paintings such as Untitled, 1995, reflect an unbridled energy that elaborates on the patterns of the yam vine growing underground while simultaneously celebrating the fertile nature of Alhalkere, the artist’s homeland. The varying opacity and density of the brush lines, and the graduations in tonality create images of great depth to accentuate the notion of ancestral forces permeating the earth.

Untitled, 1995, was painted in October of that year, soon after Kngwarreye had completed two related major, monumental works: Big Yam Dreaming, now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, was completed over two days in July 1995; and Yam Awleye in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, in August 1995.1 Each of these paintings reveals the physical relationship between the artist and the canvas, the span of her brush stroke, where she would sit cross-legged either on the canvas lying flat on the ground, or beside it, reaching in. In either case, her technique reinforced the relationship between ceremonial painting and art made for the public sphere.


1 Big Yam Dreaming and Yam Awleye are illustrated in Isaacs, J. et al., Emily Kngwarreye Paintings, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1998, pp.168-9, plate 71, and pp. 170-1, plate 72 respectively. Big Yam Dreaming is also illustrated in Neale, M (ed), Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Paintings from Utopia, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery and Macmillan, 1998, plate 85, catalogue number 92, pp.130-1, and Neale, M. et al, Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, 2008, catalogue number Y-11, pp.194-5


Aboriginal Art