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Emily Kngwarreye exhibition opens in Tokyo

26 MAY 2008

The largest collection of works by an Australian artist to be exhibited outside Australia will go on display at the National Art Centre, Tokyo, Japan from May 28 until July 28, 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 of 120 works from 65 institutions and private collections is the largest collection of works by a single Australian artist to travel outside Australia.

"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.

The exhibition attracted considerable interest when it went on display in Osaka, Japan earlier this year. After its showing in Tokyo, Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye will go on display at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on 23 August, 2008.

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."

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