This portrait was the first acquisition made by the National Portrait Gallery, part of its mission to understand the Australian people through portraiture. Emily Kame Kngwarreye (Kngwarrey) (c.1910–1996) was an Anmatyerre artist, born at Alhalkere, Utopia Station, in the Northern Territory. After her ancestral land was appropriated for cattle grazing, she worked as a stockhand. As she grew older, she became a leader in women’s ceremonial business, experienced in ceremonial body painting. She first painted on canvas in 1988, with many now regarding her as one of the great abstract artists of the 20th century. See this work, and the rest of the national collection, in Canberra.
For more information on this work visit: portrait.gov.au/emily