Emily Kam Kngwarray1916 - 1996 Anaty Inger[Bush Potato Dreaming] 1995
- acrylic on canvas
Emily Kame Kngwarreye is arguably Australia's most well known female artist; that she was an Aboriginal painter only adds to her renown. The key female Utopia painter, Emily had a natural charm and confidence, which she put to use in all her dealings: within her clan, with bureaucrats in Australia's capital and when dealing with her one-time patron, Robert Holmes Ã Court.
This particular work shows the changes to the bush potato when the roots are disturbed by the women digging for the tubers.
Art historian Daniel Thomas gives a touching account of the spiritual and sensual nature of Utopia body painting traditions, which is palpable in Emily's work: 'Emily steadfastly maintained that her work was about "my country"; by this, however, she surely meant more than just geography, but the spiritual sense of the landscape and her clan's traditions within it'.
Enigmatic to the end, Emily is also said to have suggested that her work is really about "wild sex".
Source: Daniel Thomas, Taking Charge - Earth's Creation, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, 1998