18 July – 20 August 2014
Kudditji Kngwarreye has a deep knowledge of the spiritual significance of Alhalkere, his ancestral homelands at Utopia, 270 kms north-east from Alice Springs. An old man in his eighties, Kudditji is the senior custodian of Ankerre, the spiritual sites across his country that are integral to the Emu Dreaming story. Kudditji counts off the other senior men, custodians of the surrounding Dreamings, who have now passed on.
His own paintings of Country and the Dreamings that give life to that region are abstract impressions of landscape in all its moods, changed by the seasons, the time of day, the clouds, rain and heat – all emotive expressions of the many facets of the Country.
At the centre of the structure of the paintings is the rectangle that represents the ceremonial grounds, the heart of the Emu Dreaming site. The sites are sacred for Men’s Ceremonies and initiation rites. The role of the male emu in nature is to protect the nest and hatch the eggs. Therefore the totemic connection between the Emu sites and the Men’s Law draws deeply on the function of nurturing, both for the Country and for the traditional custodians of the land.
The ancient Ankerre Dreaming cycle inspires both the paintings of Kudditji Kngwarreye and the life of this senior Anmatyerre lawman. Kudditji Kngwarreye carries on the male Law tradition as had his famous Emily Kngwarreye (c1910-1996) carried the Women’s Law and painting tradition.
The paintings will be on display at Japingka Gallery until 20 August.