Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 18. EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE | UNTITLED (ANOORALYA YAM).


Auction Closed

December 13, 10:40 PM GMT


50,000 - 80,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from a Private European Collection


CIRCA 1910-1996


Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Bears artist's name, and Delmore Gallery catalogue number 95L34 on the reverse

60 in by 47⅝in (153 cm by 121 cm)

Commissioned in December 1995 by Don and Janet Holt at Delmore Downs Station, Northern Territory

Delmore Gallery, Northern Territory

Private collection, France

Cf. See the chapter 'Yam', in Margo Neale (ed.) Utopia: Genesis of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 2008, pp.165-175

“Emily’s main Dreaming story: (is) a specific yam that grows beneath the ground and is visible above the ground as a creeper. However the power of the Yam…evokes the ancestral connections that transcend the physical. The organic tracery of interconnecting lines in the yam paintings bear an uncanny resemblance to the crazed pattern of cracked earth on the ground where the yam vine grows, mirroring the network of arterial roots below the surface.

The organic flow of lines stretching out like capillaries across these canvases speaks of a wholeness, not so apparent in the sharper more brutal and geometric surfaces of many Western abstractionists.” (ibid. p.165)

In 1995 Emily Kame Kngwarreye revisited her favored theme of the atnulare yam in a series of monochromatic paintings that included the eight-yard long white on black Big Yam Dreaming in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.1 Now in her mid-eighties, Kngwarreye seems to be paring back, stripping the layers of color and dotting of the paintings of the previous years to the bare bones, to their skeletal structures.

The paintings are gestural statements, marks of an individual’s personal and communal identity as they are relate to the act of painting awelye women’s designs in ceremony, and particularly so in this case, to the act of drawing in the sand. Each painting reveals the physical relationship between the artist and the canvas through 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. The ‘fluidity of movement gives the painting structure, it exists only as a result of the artist’s body’s movement traced as paint’.2

1. Big Yam Dreaming is illustrated in Isaacs, J. et al., Emily Kngwarreye Paintings, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1998, pp. 168-9, plate 71; in Neale, M (ed), Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Paintings from Utopia, Queensland Art Gallery and Macmillan, Brisbane, 1998, plate 85, catalogue number 92, pp. 130-1; and in 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. 

2. Terence Smith, ‘Kngwarreye Woman Abstract Painter’ in Isaacs 1998:32.

Wally Caruana