Kudditji Kngwarreye

Kudditji Kngwarreye born circa 1928,sadly passed away January 2017 the younger brother of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye, had a traditional bush upbringing in the Utopia region before starting a long career as a stockman and mine worker. An Anmatyerre elder and custodian of many important Dreamings, Kudditji was inspired by the work coming out of Papunya to paint his own Dreamings, telling of the travels and law of the Emu ancestors. Starting in 1986, his precisely dotted Emu Dreaming paintings, featuring ranks of coloured roundels and other ‘hieroglyphs’ on a chequered or dotted background, became sought after by major galleries in the Northern Territory. Breaking out of this style after some years, Kudditji’s work became far looser and more ‘abstract’, and some commentators have seen a strong similarity with his sister Emily’s work – but it is not clear who was the first to set out on this path. The demand for his earlier, detailed style, however, moved Kudditji to return to it, and it was only in 2003 that he began to exhibit the extraordinary, saturated colour paintings that have seen his reputation grow nationally and internationally. The new paintings, in fact, have several styles, and Kudditji has explored size of canvas as well as form in these intense, beautiful works. A sense of immense space can be felt in the “My Country” paintings, where massive blocks of stippled colour are laid alongside each other, sometimes using only two colours, while in other paintings a quilt of juxtaposed colours produces a landscape effect. The bold colour-filled paintings, on the theme of My Country, refer to the artist’s ancestral country on the Utopia homelands and to the Emu Dreaming sites, for which the artist is custodian.
Geoffrey Bardon, speaking of Papunya artists, writes that they “dreamed [their] marvelous spirit-place back” so that “the land became a great song of the place where a spirit could be in its own supernatural grace; the ‘My Country’ (Homeland) Dreamings were the painters’ affirmation of both themselves and their ancestors” (Papunya, p.54). Clearly, the same can be said of Kudditji

Selected Exhibitions: 1990 Art Dock, “Contemporary Art from Australia”, Noumea, New Caledonia; 1991 Central Australian aboriginal Art& Craft Exhibition, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs; 1992 “Tjukurrpa”, Museum fur Volkerkunde, Basel, Switzerland; 1999 Chapel off Chapel Gallery, Melbourne; 2000 Mia Mia Aboriginal Gallery, Melbourne; 2005: Waterhole Aboriginal Art, Danks Street, Sydney.; 2005: New Paintings, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne; 2005: Colours in Country, Art Mob, Hobart, Tasmania