Emily Kam Ngwarray Untitled (Alhalker) 1992, Art Gallery of New South Wales © Emily Kam Ngwarray. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Considers the diversity of ancestors who inhabit and enliven country
Australia has been shaped and defined by the past actions of ancestors, who remain a dynamic presence within the land. Drawn from the Gallery’s collection, the works in this exhibition speak of the complex, ongoing attachments to country held by Aboriginal people.
Included are sculptural representations of Mimih, Purukapali and the Djang’kawu – important figures who take human form in particular areas of northern Australia – alongside images of the Wanka (spider) and Kanpaarka (centipede) that are drawn from the desert regions. There are also more abstracted depictions whose optical effects capture the movement and reverberations that are enacted across country by such forces as the Tingari.
Many of these works can be considered self-portraits, such is the attachment between their maker and those to whom they are giving visual form. As artist Emily Kam Ngwarray famously exclaimed, ‘I am the yam’.
4 Jun 2016 – Oct 2017