Monday, September 12, 2011

EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE


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Aboriginal art is a category that is often overlooked in Art History Survey courses. However, it is interesting to note the way contemporary Aboriginal art interacts with the Western art market.

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Emily Kame Kngwarreye was an Australian Aboriginal artist (1910-1996) whose work transcended its indigenous tradition.

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Kngwarreye began her art career around the age of 80, beginning with hand-dyed batiks, intended as garments and ephemera for traditional women's ceremonies.

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Kngwarreye eventually began working with paint and canvas, creating works inspired by the physical landscape of her home in the Northern Territory.

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A key subject of Kngwarreye's work is the yam, the primary food source of her tribe.

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Kngwarreye's work gained critical attention after a number of international exhibitions of Australian Aboriginal art, and it wasn't long before her home was flooded with prospective art dealers.

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In May of 2007, Kngwarreye's painting Earth's Creation set a record for the highest amount ever paid at auction for an Aboriginal work, selling for over $1 million. Unfortunately, Kngwarreye did not live to experience her international art world fame, but she set a new precedent for the commercial value of Australian Aboriginal art.

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Inspired by Kngwarreye's paintings, I wore a 1960's Bill Blass dress and jacket, vintage necklace, vintage snakeskin clutch, and Theory sandals. For the record, this Bill Blass set is my all-time favorite Goodwill find, and no alterations were needed! Meant for each other.

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[Kngwarreye images from slowpainters.wordpress.com and thisfabtrek.com.]

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