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Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Merne Alagura - 1993

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
90.0 x 150.0 cm
EST. $40,000 - $60,000

LOT #34


Delmore Gallery, NT Cat No. 93L058
Private Collection, NT


accompanied by a Delmore Gallery certificate of authenticity


Beyond the Veil, Olsen Gruin Gallery, New York, USA, 2018

Emily Kame Kngwarreye is widely regarded as Australia's most important and successful Aboriginal artist. Her remarkable career lasted just seven years prior to her death at 86 years of age in 1996. The painterly quality and originality of her works extended her influence beyond the reach of Aboriginal art and attracted an international audience ready to acclaim her new and innovative contemporary style.


The use of colour in this painting, Merne Alalgura, reflects the hot outback summers, where little rain has fallen. The lines indicate the growth pattern of the Anooralya finger yam at its peak, ready to fall into decline and brought to maturity by the intense and unforgiving summer sun. In her layered approach we also see the sporadic clustering of plants in later stages of maturity. Understanding the life cycle of these plants is vital to survival in the bush. This is affirmed within the narrative of the song cycle sung during the ceremony, which reinforces the significance of this knowledge and teaches social codes and obligations to the next generation.