In her greatest work, Earth's Creation I, artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye created an image of her existence and the world around her. At the time of its creation Kngwarreye was in her eighties and had only recently discovered her talent for painting.

EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE (ca. 1910-1996) - Earth's Creation I, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen, 1994 EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE (ca. 1910-1996) - Earth's Creation I, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Belgian Linen, 1994

Born around 1910, Emily Kngawarreye spent her life in the Aboriginal tribe of Anmatyerre in central Australia, north of the city of Alice Springs. The land had been fully reassigned to the Australian aborigines in 1981. A group of artists who lived in Utopia in the Northern Territory played an important role in the culture of this area. At the end of the 1980s, a group of eight women were working in the region, creating batik pieces, using the technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to cloth. Amongst them, Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

Detail of Earth's Creation I Detail of Earth's Creation I

The artists later turned to acrylic paint. Emily Kngwarreye picked up the paintbrush to create pieces which reflected her life in the Australian Outback and the related dependence on nature.

GREG WEIGHT (*1946) - Portrait of Emily Kngwarreye, 7/15 7/15, Selenium toned silver gelatin photograph, 1994 GREG WEIGHT (*1946) - Portrait of Emily Kngwarreye, 7/15 7/15, Selenium toned silver gelatin photograph, 1994

"Whole lot, that's all, whole lot, awelye, arlatyeye, ankerrthe, ntange, dingo, ankerre, intekwe, anthwerle and kame. That's what I paint: whole lot. My dreaming, pencil yam, mountain devil lizard, grass seed, dingo, emu, small plant emu food, green bean and yam seed. " - Emily Kame Kngwarreye 

Earth's Creation I propelled Emily Kngwarreye to new heights as one of Australia's most important Aboriginal artist. Her style was compared to the works of Impressionist Claude Monet and that of Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock. Kngwarreyes paintings were known beyond the borders of Australia, having been exhibited in group shows in Germany, London, Russia, Japan and the United States. The artist also had a solo show in Amsterdam.

In 2015, Earth's Creation I was exhibited by curator Okwui Enwezor at the 56th Venice Biennale. Eight years earlier, it was purchased in Sydney by the Mbantua Gallery for the sum of 1 056 000 AUS$ (around $813 000.) Sadly, Emily passed away in 1996, two years after the creation of Earth's Creation I.

Earth's Creation I will be auctioned in Sydney on November 16 in Fine Art Bourse's Aboriginal & Oceanic Fine Art Auction in partnership with CooeeArt MarketPlace. Emily Kame Kngwarreyes masterpiece will be exhibited from November 10-14 at Chifly Tower. The remaining 83 lots of the auction can be viewed at the CooeeArt Gallery on Oxford Street Paddington.

Discover more here.

Comment