Ollie Kemarre

To be Auctioned on July 25th 12 Noon

Ollie Kemarre (c 1933-2012) paintings depict a traditional topographical view of her desert country after recent rains, Anmatjerra, located in the Central Desert, Northern Territory.My Country ,After Rain depicts the abundance of bush flora species that flourish following rainfall and gathered by the artist on her remote homeland. Living with hunter gatherer traditions, Ollie paints her land in a traditional topographical form her land, the seasons and the reading of these signs is now a highly intuitive skill and reflects Ollie’s intimate knowledge of the area where she was born and raised. This area is characterised by vast stretches of red desert sands and Spinifex country. The women know tracks through the bush used to navigate the location of important bush foods – Alkwe (Bush Plum), Kudjera (Bush Tomato) and Bush Raisin. It is at night that the women talk of the tucker species gathered that day and preparation for gathering the next. Up to four generations of the one family gather about the nightly campsite with story telling and the love of their country and night sky.

This work is a central example of Ollie’s use of pictorial space to evoke a sense of the vast dimension of her desert country. Her works are sought after for their purity and rhythmic, organic dotwork. My Country, After Rain, showcases the artists’ intuitive use of colour, intricate patterning of dot work and demonstrates her deep connection to her country.

Ollie’s main ‘Dreamings’ are based on native plants and bush tucker species, which are design elements associated with ‘Women’s Awelye’ (ceremony/dancing) and ‘Women’s Dreamings’. She paints in two distinctive styles: aerial bush tucker Dreamings with overlapping dot work and women’s dreaming. Organically formed areas of dots are painted in different colours, with symbolic reference to women’s sites.

Many of Ollie’s stories are inherited from her late grandmother Emily Kame Kngwarreye, a very successful artist, who painted depictions of the desert and its plant life changing with the seasons and the life giving rains.

Ollie is a bold and innovative artist, painting her Dreamings and culture. She has been painting since she was a teenager, but has emerged since the early 1990’s as a leading Utopian artist.


National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
Holmes a’Court Collection

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