# 40771

WEIGHT, Greg (1946- )

Emily Kame Kngwarreye 1994

  • Sold

Gelatin silver print photograph, 710 x 575 mm (image), 900 x 760 mm (sheet), signed in pen Greg Weight and numbered 2/15 in lower margin.

An iconic photographic portrait of Emily Kame Kngwarreye taken at Delmore Downs in 1994.

‘Emily Kame Kngwarrey (Kngwarreye) (c. 1910–1996), Anmatyerre artist, was 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 business, experienced in ceremonial body painting. From 1977 she collaborated in the production of batik, an important industry for the Anmatyerre after they regained land title. She first painted on canvas in 1988. In the course of her brief career she produced thousands of canvases depicting the flowers, roots, dust and summer rains of her country, the translucent colours built up with layered touches of paint to create an illusion of depth and movement. Kngwarreye is recognised as one of the very greatest abstract artists of the twentieth century.

Photographer Greg Weight met Kngwarreye at Utopia in February 1994 and took several images. As he recalled in Australian Artists: Portraits by Greg Weight: ‘I sat with the women from Utopia all afternoon while they talked and painted. I took photographs occasionally, trying not to be too intrusive yet always looking for a suitable angle.’ – National Portrait Gallery https://www.portrait.gov.au/portraits/2004.126/emily-kngwarreye

Greg Weight has described his portrait of Emily Kame Kngwarreye as one of his career defining images :

“She was quite strong and energetic, and poured all of her energy and nurturing ability, if you like, into her canvases. She was probably the most significant Indigenous artist in the country at the time. I spent the whole day with Emily and realised it was the only opportunity I’d get to take her portrait. I knew there was potential, but I had no idea what I was going to achieve. I had just hoped that I would recognise the moment when it happened. This shot emerged out of the blue. In those days with analogue, you didn’t have instant feedback, but I had a gut feeling I had captured the photograph. It was fortuitous that I had the right lens on for a headshot and that I was the right distance because that pose wasn’t pre-arranged. It was purely candid. When her attention came back to me, the shot was over. It was probably a 20 or 10 second opportunity.” – https://www.vogue.com.au/vogue-living/arts/photographer-greg-weight-reveals-the-seven-portraits-that-defined-his-career/news-story/443d652634b10f7a74f3b098a463653e

Collections (other examples):

National Portrait Gallery, Canberra (reduced format)


Weight, Greg. Australian Artists : Portraits. Chapter & Verse, Sydney, 2004, illustrated pp. 21.

Provenance :

Private collection, Brisbane