Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours




Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

View More:





Emily Kame Kngwarreye


circa 1910 - 03 Sep 1996

Language group

Anmatyerr, Central Desert region


Working in a remote, north-west corner of the Simpson Desert, on land annexed by pastoral leases during the 1920s, Emily Kam Ngwarray became, in the final decade of her life, perhaps the most celebrated and sought after Australian artist of her time.

A leading figure in eastern Anmatyerr ceremony, Ngwarray was also the artist in whose work many white Australians first felt the force of an Indigenous art that could be seen to negotiate a space both within the aesthetics of Western abstraction and the timeless precepts of Aboriginal cultural traditions.

Ngwarray attained artistic maturity as a woman in her seventies, not long converted to the techniques of painting on canvas, but with decades of painting in a ceremonial context and activity with the Utopia Women's Batik Group behind her - as well as life as a camel handler and stockhand. In an extraordinarily prolific eight years of professional painting, she produced magnificent canvases in which she appears to have aimed for essentialist visions of the multiplicities and connectedness of her country, as imaged in terms of its organic energies. Ngwarray's vital traceries both conform to, and seem to expand beyond, her clan codes, in abstractions of ceremonial markings and imagery of her country's flora and fauna.


Place where the work was made

Utopia Northern Territory Australia



Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on canvas


134.1 x 135.3 cm stretcher

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. verso on stretcher [vertically], black fibre-tipped pen "Emily Kngwarreye_May'_92_E_ [logo]...".


Gift of John Eager 2014. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Margo Neale and Akira Tatehata, Emily Kame Kngwarreye: Utopia: the genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Japan, 2008, 143.

Margo Neale, Roger Benjamin, Anne Brody, Christopher Hodges, Philip Morrissey, Judith Ryan and Greg Weight, Emily Kame Kngwarreye - Alhalkere - Paintings from Utopia, South Yarra, 1998, 5.