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Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Yam Dreaming (red dots) edition 28/50 - 1995

limited edition linocut on paper
76.0 x 57(paper) x 8
EST. $4,000 - $6,000

MP #583


Workshop conducted at Delmore Downs, NT
Print Maker, Theo Tremblay
Editioned Studio One, ACT
Private Collection, NSW

Emily Kngwarreye began painting at 79 years of age and by the time she passed away seven years later (in 1996) she had completed no less than 5000 works of art. She is recognised as the most successful and loved of all Aboriginal artists. Though she always painted aspects of the Yam creation story, its artistic expression moved along a creative trajectory unparalleled in the history of world art. Her creative dynamism resulted in retrospective exhibitions at a number of the shrines of contemporary art in Australia and overseas.


This Linocut marked an important turning point in the artist’s imagery. Almost immediately after creating it she began large-scale line paintings eschewing the dotted landscapes that she had created up to that moment in time. These paintings culminated in her masterpiece, Big Yam Dreaming in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Emily's earliest 'straight line paintings' stemmed from a workshop in January 1994, during which she worked with master printmaker Theo Tremblay at Studio One in Canberra. The image was painted onto the linolium. Later the printmakers faithfully cut around the lines and published the print.

Emily participated with her clanswomen each year in the Yam Dreaming ceremonies that pay homage to the spirit of the yam plant. Only by doing so will they ensure that it regenerates year after year to feed their people.
The Yam is one of the most important Bush foods to be found. The root system of this plant is a complex mass that stretches a long way underground. Ceremony reinforces, through narrative, the significance of this knowledge. It also teaches basic social codes and obligations. Through her paintings, Emily passes this knowledge on to those who will carry on after her passing.