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National Museum sends Emily exhibition to Japan

15 OCTOBER 2007

The National Museum of Australia will present an exhibition of works by the Australian artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye: Utopia, the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye at the National Museum of Art, Osaka and the National Art Centre, Tokyo in 2008.

The exhibition is the largest collection of works by a single Australian artist to tour overseas. It includes 120 works by Emily Kngwarreye from more than 60 national and overseas collections valued at more than $30 million dollars.

"The National Museum of Australia welcomes the opportunity to take this major international exhibition about such an extraordinary Australian to Japan," said Craddock Morton, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

"It not only tells the story of Emily Kame Kngwarreye as one of Australia's greatest contemporary artists but also tell the story of her life as a custodian of the desert country that inspired her work." said Mr Morton.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye (c1910 – 1996) was a senior Anmatyerre custodian and artist who lived and worked at the centre of Australia, 250 kms north of Alice Springs, in relative isolation from the art world that sought her work.

"She was an artist of few words, in English at least, but her paintings speak volumes," said exhibition curator Margo Neale.

"She did more than 3,000 paintings on canvas over a period of 8 years, which is roughly one painting per day. This is a testimony to how much she had to say about her reason for being and her cultural experience" Margo Neale said.

"We have had remarkable cooperation from institutions, companies and individuals who have generously loaned works for this exhibition," said Margo Neale.

Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye will open at the National Museum of Art, Osaka on 26 February, 2008 and at the National Art Centre, Tokyo on 28 May, 2008.

The exhibition has been made possible with the support of the Australian Government, Yomiuri Shimbun, the Australia-Japan Foundation and Woodside.

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au