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Emily Kngwarreye exhibition opens in Japan

25 FEBRUARY 2008

The largest collection of works by an Australian artist to be exhibited outside Australia has gone on display at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan until April 13, 2008.

Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, an exhibition developed and presented by the National Museum of Australia, tells the story of Emily Kame Kngwarreye an Aboriginal artist who lived and worked in the desert in the centre of Australia.

The exhibition is the largest collection of works by a single Australian artist to travel outside Australia. It includes 120 works from 65 national and overseas collections valued at more than $30 million.

"The National Museum of Australia welcomes the opportunity to bring this major 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 tells 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 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," said exhibition curator Margo Neale, "but her paintings speak volumes. 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 said.

Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Yomiuri Shimbun, the Australia – Japan Foundation and Woodside Energy Limited.

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