Important Australian + International Fine Art
29 November 2007

Emily Kame Kngwarreye

(1910 - 1996)

synthetic polymer paint on canvas

121.0 x 90.0 cm

dated and inscribed with artist's name and Delmore Gallery catalogue number verso: 1989 Emily KNgWARREyE C044
inscribed with title and dated on label attached verso: Yam Story/ 1989
accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Delmore Gallery, Northern Territory

$35,000 - $50,000

Commissioned by Delmore Gallery, Northern Territory
William Mora Galleries, Melbourne (gallery stamp verso)
Applied Chemicals Collection, Melbourne


Of My Country: Emily Kame Kngwarreye, The Applied Chemicals Collection, Bendigo Art Gallery, 1 - 30 May 1999, and touring various venues throughout Victoria and New South Wales, June 1999 - April 2000

Catalogue text

This is one of the earliest paintings by Emily Kngwarreye commissioned by the Delmore Gallery. Emily Kngwarreye's reaction to the fertile energy that launches growth and provides the desert people's essential food is, in this instance, inspired by her lifelong observation and ceremonial celebration of the basic but vital growth centres of this small yam called 'Anooralya.' This is a raw statement of the yam plant's underground growth pattern made distinctive by its angular form. Where the lines interconnect is an actual yam plant, and where women start to dig. They then follow the underground growth. In a drought, the yam lies dormant waiting to be either harvested or rejuvenated by rain. In ceremony, women call on the power of the desert and its fertile and hardy characteristics in the knowledge that a good season eventually returns. When rain appears, the transformation of the desert is quite dramatic.

The colours of the dot-work represent the yam plant's degree of freshness as indicated by its leaves and flowers. The raw to ripe to dry process is a basic element of understanding the Australian arid lands and their tribal people - it is basic to their survival.


Delmore Downs, Northern Territory