ARTIST: Kudditji Kngwarreye c.1928 –2017
TITLE: My Country
LANGUAGE/REGION: Anmatyerre/Utopia, Alice Springs – NT
YEAR: 2010
DIMENSIONS: 90.0cm x 90.0cm
MEDIUM: synthetic polymer paints on Belgian linen

DREAMINGS: My Country, Yam Seed Dreaming, Men’s Ceremony, Emu Dreaming

Kudditji (pronounced Koo-bee-jee) Kngwarreye was born around 1928 and is the younger brother of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye (one of the greatest and highly collectable artist). Kudditji was brought up in the bush, the traditional nomadic way. Once he was a grown man, he had a long career as a stockman and as a mine worker and has now been painting for over twenty five years.
Kudditji is from the Eastern Anmatyerre country of Alhalkere, Utopia. A senior man and respected elder, Kudditji is the custodian of many important Dreamings. Initially as a young artist, his works were carefully planned and meticulously executed. His recent works have shown an evolution in his techniques and strategies with the application of acrylic paint on canvas along with the never-ending choice of colour.
His artistry that has seen him soar to International acclaim are more abstract, more use of bold colour and his trademark large brushstrokes creating patches of unregimented squares. His connection with the land (which he has walked by foot) is illustrated in each of his artworks and his intense use of colour has proved him to be a popular pick for collectors.
Kudditji is a grandfather and great grandfather. He enjoys most the time he spends with his family in Alice Springs and up in his country of Utopia.

‘My Country’

Kudditji is the custodian of his country on the Northern Boundary of the Utopia Homelands which is the primary inspiration of his Dreamings and are always evident in his art.

Kudditji’s early works titled ‘Emu Dreaming’, ‘Yam Seed Dreaming’ and ‘Men’s Ceremonies’ were interpretations of sacred sites, secret ceremonies associated with Men’s business and bush tucker found on his country. These early works showcased precise dotting on a checkered or dotted background depicting the country where he and his family lived.

Kudditji’s later works titled ‘My Country’ beginning from the turn of the century in the early 2000’s until now is the art that brought him to fame and International acclaim. His style changed dramatically forming a more abstract and contemporary style. From the simple dotting style, Kudditji changed his art encapsulating the story of his land and ancestral lineage through the application of thick layers of paint with the unique style of mixing the colours on the canvas itself applying the paint haphazardly with sweeping large brushstrokes.

‘My Country’ evokes the landscape of  his country in the Northern Boundary of the Utopia Homelands to represent the vivid skies of the desert’s rainy season and the severe heat of the desert’s intense summer. Light and shade is articulated gracefully through Kudditji’s choices of colour and placement of squares to tell the stories of the land in the powerful way that only Kudditji can. His inimitable style has opened doors into the realm of contemporary art whilst still maintaining the traditional lores and story-telling of his Indigenous culture.

Like all Aboriginal art, the art was created only to tell the stories from one generation to the next and pass on the knowledge in order to survive in the bush. This tradition has seen Kudditji and his artistic family grow and evolve into prolific artists. His art along with his sister Emily Kame Kngwarreye are now widely collected all around the world.

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