Lauraine Diggins Fine Art recognises the celebration of Naidoc Week (8 – 15 July 2018) which this year focuses on the important role women have played and continue to play as influential role models.
We see this in the community of Utopia where the women artists in particular have forged a presence on the international art stage – particularly, Emily Kam Kngwarray; Gloria Petyarr; Kathleen Petyerre – and continue to build on this legacy with younger artists including Genevieve Kemarr Loy.
Utopia, a former cattle station in central Australia (around 240kms north east of Alice Springs) was handed back to the Anmatyerr and Alyawarr people as Aboriginal freehold land in 1979. The women at Utopia were instrumental in the land rights claim, as they presented evidence of their ownership of the land through Awelye (women’s ceremonies) including body paint designs. Sales from batiks created by the women in the late 1970s enabled funds to be available to support the successful land claim.
The paintings by artists from Utopia are a contemporary expression of the cultural knowledge an artist holds about country, formed through the medium of acrylic paint. Although often superficially depicting the food and flora of their landscape, such paintings reveal an artist’s inextricable link to country and the deeper intimate knowledge of cultural heritage and ceremony.
Currently on view at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art are paintings by Nancy Kunoth Petyarr and her daughter Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray. Click here to read more about Utopia and the artists from this region.