Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Of advanced years when she began her artistic career, Emily Kame Kngwarreye's death in September 1996 ended a brief but brilliant period where her output and inventiveness made up for time. Born "in the bush" in roughly 1910, Kngwarreye grew up in a traditional way, learning about her country, Alhalkere, and of her responsibilities to this land. Kngwarreye's first contemporary art was made in the late 1970's, with the opportunity to work in the batik medium. However, it was in the summer of 1988/89 that Kngwarreye found her true medium, acrylic paint on canvas. Her first painting was a great success. This led to her receiving the first CAAMA Fellowship in 1989, her first of many solo shows in 1990 and the award of the Australian Artists Creative Fellowship in 1992. Her work is now included in every major public, corporate and private collection in the country and increasingly abroad.

In 1997 Kngwarreye's work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale. In the same year the Queensland Art Gallery curated a major survey exhibition Emily Kame Kngwarreye: Alhalkere: Paintings from Utopia. This then travelled to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the National Gallery of Australia. The exhibition was conceived in 1995 as a survey but soon became a tribute to this remarkable artist. In 2008, a major retrospective of Kngwarreye's work, Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, was exhibited at the National Museum of Art in Osaka and the National Art Centre in Tokyo. 

Currently the National Gallery of Australia is exhibiting a retrospective of her work.    The Tate Gallery in London will mount a retrospective of her work in 2025, the first for an Australian Indigenous artist. 

For the entirety of her painting career Emily Kame Kngwarreye was the name by which Kngwarreye was known. It’s the name on the back of her paintings, on documentation, in catalogues, newspaper articles and books. It is the only name used in all that time.

In 2010 the latest update to the orthography, would change the spelling, but as Kngwarreye passed away more than a decade prior, we a retaining the spelling used in her lifetime.

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Emily Kame Kngwarreye at the NGAuntil April 28 2024

A major survey of the work of Emily Kame Kngwarreye at the National Gallery of Australia. 

From early batik works to late works on paper, this exhibition shows the extraordinary vision and talent of this internationally recognised Australian artist

Soft and Weak like WaterFrom April 7

Emily Kame Kngwarreye is featured in the Gwangju Biennale, Korea.

April 7 - July 9 2023

STRONG: NERAMUntil October 16, 2022

STRONG brings together the work of 5 women artists who began or continued to work late in their lifetime.  Emily Kame Kngwarreye is included with several paintings.

New England Art Museum, Armidale, NSW

A Year in Art: Australia 1992From June 8

The Tate Modern in London has opened a new exhibition of recent acquisitions by Australian Indigenous artists.  Until Spring 2022.

Drill Hall Gallery, ANU, ACTDecember 4 - 20, 2020

An exhibition curated by the Drill Hall Gallery staff of a selection from the ANU Collection, including recent acquisitions and gifts.  Including Liz Coats

The Future is FemaleMarch 8 to September 13, 2020

An exhibition focussing on female artists using paper to express their ideas behind the aspects of their daily lives.  Includes Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands

Who's Afraid Of ColourUntil April 17, 2017

Emily Kame Kngwarreye is included in "Who's Afraid of Colour", An unprecedented survey of over 100 Indigenous Australian Women artists from 1990 to the present.  The exhibition is drawn from the NGV collection, and includes all media from traditional woven baskets and bark paintings to contemporary paintings, photographs and video. Also included are Papunya Tula artists Wintjiya Napaltjarri and Tjunkiya Napaltjarri.


Emily Kame Kngwarreye4 - 28 May, 2016

The most comprehensive look at Kngwarreyes awelye works since the historic exhibition in 1994. Including works that travelled to the Venice Biennale in 1997, and Kngwarreyes retrospectives which toured Japan and Australia.

4 - 28 May, 2016