Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Artists Keep their Ancestry Alive
Taking up painting at the age of 80, Aboriginal Australian painter Emily Kngwarreye made abstract canvases of dots, free-flowing lines, and patches of color in acrylic, drawing on a lifetime of creating designs for women’s ceremonies, body painting, and other traditional practices. Her early work is based on a linear grid derived from her experiences with batik painting, with horizontal, vertical, and curving lines joining equally spaced dots—abstract translations of traditional symbols and Aboriginal life and rituals. As her practice progressed, she started to integrate color patches and expressionistic painterly gestures, experimenting more broadly with the style she established earlier in her career. Kngwarreye is considered one of Aboriginal Australia’s leading painters of the 20th century.
Australian, 1910-1996, Alhalkere, Australia, based in Utopia, Australia