Important Aboriginal + Oceanic Art
6 October 2010

Emily Kame Kngwarreye

(c.1910 - 1996)

synthetic polymer paint on canvas

153.0 x 121.0 cm

signed verso: Emily
inscribed verso: Delmore Gallery cat. 94K40

Sold for $180,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 17 - 6 October 2010, Melbourne

Delmore Gallery, Alice Springs
Sotheby's, Melbourne, 24 June 2002, lot 94
Private collection, Sydney

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Janet Holt at Delmore Galleries, Alice Springs


Catalogue text

This canvas derives directly from the community surrounding the soakage at Alalgura on Utopia. Water has been harvested into the area by the natural fall of the country, creating ideal conditions for growth. No specific dreaming of bush tucker was in mind when this work was produced. Emily best describes such flourishes of colour as “merne” (food) “everything”.

This painting is one of five outstanding canvases produced in November of 1994, all distinguished by a field of charcoaled dotting, located upper left of this work. The dusky tone represents the small black pebbles and charcoal the male emu consumes as an aid to digestion. This in turn helps identify an emu's presence both by his droppings or the remains of food regurgitated onto the ground for his chicks to consume.

The textured colours of this canvas emanate from the country surrounding Alalgura (Alhalkere) on Utopia. Water has been harvested into the area by the natural fall of the land, creating ideal conditions for fattening and breeding emus.

This work demonstrates Emily Kngwarreye's inclusive vision of all things relative to sourcing sustenance in her country. This helps us with her intent as she worked upon this canvas. Essentially, the artist is celebratory. Nature is working in synchronicity, filling the artist and her ensuing work with delight. The good season has returned, and her ritual role helped ensure this.