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Utopia

Utopia

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 area known as Utopia

Emily's Country, Alhalkere, adjoins the area known as Utopia, which is located approximately 230 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs. Utopia is not one place but a grouping of five places or 'Countries', named after the ancestors who formed them. Utopia's Indigenous place names — Alhalpere, Rreltye, Thelye, Atarrkete and Ingutanka — are also the particular names of families who are custodians for these Countries. The area was named Utopia in the 1920s by early pastoralists, after they discovered rabbits so prolific and tame they could catch them by hand.

The population of between 880 and 1000 people live in some 16 small camps, dotted across an area of 2000 square kilometres. The community is structured on extended family groups whose camps are generally situated on their clan lands. There are about 120 working artists in the community.

The senior custodians of Emily's country, Alhalkere, are Lindsay Bird Mpetyane and Greeny Purvis.

In September 2007, the Principal Curator, Margo Neale, together with the Ronin Films team made an official trip up north as part of ongoing consultations with the Utopia community.

Map of Australia and the Northern Territory showing areas of Utopia and Alhalkere
Map of Utopia and Alhalkere.