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The last series

The last series

WARNING: Relatives of the artist are advised that images of Emily Kame Kngwarreye and other Aboriginal people who might be deceased appear in this exhibition and website.


The hand becomes an eye that fuses and concentrates all five senses and sees things whole.

Lee Ufan, artist

In a final creative flourish, Emily completed 24 small paintings over three days in the two weeks before she died.

Artwork, 'My Country', 1996
My Country 1996
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 58.0 x 87.5cm. Collection of Amanda Howe.
© Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Licensed Viscopy 08.

The lines and dots that dominated the surface in her previous works vanish into broad, gestural strokes swept across the surface as slabs of strident colours composed in sections. Many are lushly painted, and every movement of the brush is visible in creamy folds of paint over a characteristic black background. By contrast, one of these last paintings is nearly devoid of colour. Its all-over subtle whitish-beige tints resonate with Kazimir Malevich's famous painting White on White 1918, in which he was said to have painted himself out of the picture. It was as if she were signing off. Her end was a new beginning.