Skip to content
  • 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission
  • Shop

Emily Kame Kngwarreye symposium

Emily Kame Kngwarreye:

Why do those fellas paint like me...?

In this symposium curators, academics, art dealers and critics explored the legacy of Emily, and a panel of Japanese and Indigenous community speakers exchanged cultural perspectives on the Emily experience.

The symposium was held on the 22–33 August 2008.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye series
  • Last updated: 28 September 2008
  • 13 programs
Symposium held in conjunction with the Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye exhibition, offering insight into the story of one of Australia’s greatest contemporary artists and the desert country that inspired her work.

Symposium speakers

Dr Chiaki Ajioka was born in Tokyo and graduated from Musashino University of Art. She arrived in Australia in 1977 and obtained a BA in history from La Trobe University, an MA in Fine Arts from the University of Melbourne and a PhD from the Australian National University. From 1986 to 1996 she worked for SBS Television as the principal Japanese subtitler.

From 1996 to 2003 she was the curator of Japanese art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and curated and co-curated exhibitions such as Modern Boy, Modern Girl (1998) and Hanga: Japanese Creative Prints (2000). She currently works as a lecturer and consultant on Japanese art. She has published nationally and internationally on modern Japanese prints and craft movement.

Tess Allas has worked in the areas of visual art and community cultural development for over 15 years. She has a Masters degree in Curatorship and Modern Art from the University of Sydney and currently works at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, as the Research Officer of the Storylines Project.

The aim of the project is to write the biographies of all Aboriginal visual artists from the so-called 'settled' regions for inclusion in the Dictionary of Australian Artists Online.

Dr Sally Butler is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Queensland, specialising in the areas of contemporary Australian art, contemporary Australian Indigenous art and cross-cultural critical theory.

Sally is the author and curator of the 2007 book and international touring exhibition titled Our Way, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Lockhart River and is one of the editors of the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Art. Her publications also include a book chapter on Arnhem Land artist John Mawurndjul and numerous articles in Australian art magazines and journals. She is also a former Associate Editor of Australian Art Collector Magazine.

Other curatorial projects include Sensing the Surface, the Photographic Art of Carl Warner and the touring exhibition Capricornia, Between the Sublime and the Spectacular, featuring the work of an Australian contemporary photographer.

Christopher Hodges is an artist who has been exhibiting since the late 1970s both solo exhibitions and inclusion in many group shows. His work is included in public, private and corporate collections.

As the owner and director of Utopia Art Sydney since 1988, Christopher is an acknowledged expert in the field of contemporary and Indigenous art. In addition to shows in his gallery, he has curated many shows for other venues and contributed to many significant national and international exhibitions in public and commercial galleries.

Utopia Art Sydney represented Emily Kngwarreye throughout her career.

Gwen Horsfield is a PhD candidate in the Art History Department at the Australian National University. Her thesis examines Australia's participation at the Venice Biennale, 1978–2007.

Susan McCulloch is a Melbourne-based art writer and book publisher who has written for leading press on Australian and Aboriginal art for more than 25 years. She was The Australian's visual arts writer (1994–2003) and its national art critic (2003–2004). She has managed the leading reference work on Australian art, McCulloch's Encyclopaedia of Australian Art, since 1988 and has been its co-author since 1992.

She is co-director with Emily McCulloch Childs of the art book publishing company McCulloch & McCulloch Australian Art Books. Her other books include McCulloch's Encyclopaedia Australian Art Diary 2009 (August 2008) and McCulloch's Contemporary Aboriginal Art, the Complete Guide (New edition, forthcoming September 2008).

She is a frequent judge of art prizes, an art consultant, curator and commentator and reviewer on art for a range of publications including The Australian Financial Review, Australian Art Collector and Art World magazine.

Professor Ann McGrath, OAM, FASSA, is the Head of the History Program in the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. She is also the founding Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History. With Margo Neale and Frances Peters-Little, she has been working on a major ARC-funded project, Unsettling Histories: Indigenous Modes of Historical Practice.

She was senior curator of the Outlawed! exhibition at the National Museum of Australia (2003). She has edited a general history entitled: Contested Ground: Aboriginal Australians Under the British Crown (Allen & Unwin 1995; e-book 2007) and co-authored the feminist history Creating a Nation.

Several of her books, including Born in the Cattle: Aborigines in Cattle Country (1987) have won major prizes. With Ronin Films, she is currently involved in a project on Lake Mungo and a documentary on the Japanese scholar of the Gurinji, Minoru Hokari.

Ian McLean is currently Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia, Perth, where he has lectured in the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Art since 1999. He is also a member of the advisory council of Third Text, the international journal of postcolonial art.

He has published extensively on Australian art, particularly the intersections of Indigenous and settler art. His books include The Art of Gordon Bennett (with a chapter by Gordon Bennett) and White Aborigines: Identity Politics in Australian Art.

Recent projects include an edited anthology of writing on Aboriginal art since 1980, How the Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art (Power Publications and the Institute of Modern Art, forthcoming in 2008).

Andrew Pike is a film historian and documentary film-maker. With Ross Cooper, he wrote a reference book documenting Australia's film history, Australian Film 1900-1977 (Oxford University Press, 1981). His films include the award-winning Angels of War (1982) about Papua New Guinea during World War II, and most recently The Chifleys of Busby Street (2008) about Australia's post-war prime minister, Ben Chifley.

Andrew Pike managed the Electric Shadows cinema in Canberra for 27 years (1979 to 2006) and, through his company Ronin Films, distributed many Australian films including Strictly Ballroom and Shine.

He is currently completing a feature-length documentary about the curatorial process behind the Emily Kame Kngwarreye exhibition and its Japanese tour.

In 2007 Andrew was awarded an OAM for his services to the film industry and an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra. In 2003 he was appointed by the French government to the rank of Chevalier dans L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres for Ronin's promotion of French cinema in Australia. He currently serves on the Board of the National Film and Sound Archive and is a member of the ACT government's Cultural Council.

Chrischona Schmidt is a PhD candidate at the Cross-Cultural Research Centre at the Australian National University. Her research examines Emily Kame Kngwarreye's role as a painter within the community of Utopia.

Terry Smith FAHA, CIHA, is Andrew W Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Architecture, University of Sydney.

During 2001–2002 he was a Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and in 2007–2008 the GlaxoSmithKlein Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Research Centre, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

From 1994 to 2001 he was Power Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Power Institute, Foundation for Art and Visual Culture, University of Sydney. He was a member of the Art & Language group (New York) and a founder of Union Media Services (Sydney).

He is the author of a number of books, notably Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America (University of Chicago Press, 1993); Transformations in Australian Art, volume 1, The Nineteenth Century: Landscape, Colony and Nation; volume 2, The Twentieth Century: Modernism and Aboriginality (Craftsman House, 2002); and The Architecture of Aftermath (University of Chicago Press, 2006).

He is the editor of many others including In Visible Touch: Modernism and Masculinity (Power Publications, 1997 and the University of Chicago Press, 1998); First People, Second Chance: The Humanities and Aboriginal Australia (Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1999); Impossible Presence: Surface and Screen in the Photogenic Era (Power Publications and the University of Chicago Press, 2001); with Paul Patton and Jacques Derrida, Deconstruction Engaged: The Sydney Seminars (Power Publications, 2001, Tokyo edition, Minori, 2005); and Contemporary Art + Philanthropy (University of New South Wales Press, 2007).

He is working on the following books: Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, Postmodernity and Contemporaneity, with Nancy Condee and Okwui Enwezor (Duke University Press, 2008); What is Contemporary Art?; and Contemporary Art: World Currents.

Terry Smith was a foundation board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and is currently a board member of the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Membré Titulaire of the Comité International d'Histoire de l'Art.

Hitomi Toku is the cultural officer in the Public Diplomacy Section at the Australian Embassy, Tokyo. After studying law at Keio University in Tokyo, she worked for an advertising agency in Japan and studied art history in France before taking up her current position.

She has been involved in a number of projects for the promotion of Australian art and culture in Japan, and facilitation of artistic exchange between the two countries.

She has worked in the Australian Embassy for four years and, along with the other staff responsible for public diplomacy, played a crucial role in bringing about the Emily exhibition in Japan.

Return to Top