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Women's Ceremony by Mary Kemarre


Women's Ceremony by Mary Kemarre

Object information


This painting is one of a collection of works which were made during the 1990s by artists at the Ngkawenyerre camp in the Utopia homelands, NT. It depicts male body paint designs.

Physical description

A screen print on paper with an orange background. There are eight female figures in total, four are depicted standing in the centre of the artwork and four that are kneeling to the right of them. Surrounding the figures are snakes, goannas, baskets of grubs and various symbols interspersed amongst many footprints. Handwriting in pencil on the verso reads 'C HODGES / FOR Utopia / MARY KEMARRE / 'Woman's Ceremony' / 1991 / 18/25'.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of works made during the 1990s by artists at the Ngkawenyerre camp in the Utopia homelands, NT. They are varied in size and media, and in good condition. All works refer to aspects of the 'Awelye' ceremony and feature women's body paint designs. The associated ceremonies are an integral part of community life and the 'Awelye' is performed by women to ensure the fertility of the land, spiritual and physical well being and social harmony.

Aboriginal people of the Utopia region have a strong tradition of mark making in a range of media and their work is well represented in museum and art gallery collections in Australia and overseas. These works, collected in the 1990s, are seminal examples that represent the early transference of ceremonial design from traditional forms and methods of painting to portable two dimensional surfaces for outside audiences. They are historically significant examples of the use of introduced tools and materials such as acrylic paint on canvas and papier mache and wire. The papier mache figures were an experimental form, of which few examples now exist.

Object information

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