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Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye made its debut in Canberra from 22 August to 12 October 2008. After its successful tour in Japan, the National Museum of Australia was pleased to present this selection of powerful works to an Australian audience.

The Museum deals innovatively with the telling of Australian history through the stories of extraordinary Australians. This exhibition not only told the story of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, one of Australia's greatest contemporary artists, but it also gives some insight into her life as a senior Anmatyerre woman and a lifelong custodian of the desert country that inspired her work.

We have an extensive collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, culture and history. Yet this exhibition went beyond our own collection to showcase 120 works drawn from some 60 private, public and corporate collections around the world.

Abstract painting.

This was only the second time such a comprehensive collection of the best of Emily's work had been seen together. It astounded, delighted and informed a Japanese public otherwise unfamiliar with Australian contemporary culture and history.

The National Museum of Australia opened in 2001 and is delighted that this major project came about so early in its short history, thus establishing a benchmark for future international collaborations.

The exhibition

Explore the artworks of Emily Kame Kngwarreye and discover more about the exhibition.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Learn about Emily Kame Kngwarreye, one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists.


Discover Emily’s country, located approximately 230 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs.

Exhibition in Japan

Explore the exhibition in Japan — the largest collection of works by a single Australian artist to travel outside Australia.

Behind the scenes

Go behind the scenes to learn about the creation of one of Emily’s biggest canvases, and how it was transported.

Further reading

Explore books, articles, catalogues and more, related to the exhibition.


Listen to a symposium of curators, academics, art dealers and critics exploring cultural perspectives on the Emily experience, and her legacy.

Logo for the British Museum.

Logos for Australian Government and Australia-Japan Foundation.

Logo for Woodside.Logo for Asialink.

The exhibition is sponsored by Yomiuri Shimbun, Woodside Energy Ltd and produced with the assistance of Asialink, the Australia-Japan Foundation and the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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