Aboriginal Artist Dinny Kunoth Kemarre

Dinny Kunoth Kemarre

Born: 1954

Language Group: Anmatyerre

Country: Ahalpere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Wood Carving

Subjects: Arwengerrp (Bush Turkey), Unjerra (like a goanna), Horse Races, Bush Football and other land or townscapes

Born in Utopia in Central Australia in 1954, Dinny Kunoth Kemarre has been a respected sculptor within his Anmatyerre community for many years and of recent years an emerging desert painter. In both mediums, he reveals a natural aptitude and tendency for bright polychrome depictions relating to modern Indigenous life in remote Australia.

There is a sculptural tradition in Central Australia that has deep roots across many generations. Dinny tells stories of his father sculpting, and his sons are actively involved in the art form as well with their work having been exhibited nationally. Customarily, sculptures were restricted to hunting and ceremonial objects, and decorative forms of ceremonial men and animals. More recently this practice has lifted to include a growing diversity of multicultural carvings where Dinny's work often reflects rodeo stars, biblical objects and dioramas, as well as sporting celebrities such as Australian Football League players. In August 2011, Dinny was awarded a Highly Commended in the coveted Telstra national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art award for a chess set made of large painted carvings. The chess pieces included various birds, ceremonial men and women, elders and pastors.

Football is prevalent in Dinny's paintings and carvings. Bush football is a sport that receives a passionate involvement from the Utopia community throughout the course of its season and sees the teams named after and don insignia of some of the AFL's most prominent teams. Teams include the Apungalingum Eagles, for whom Dinny barracks for, the Mulga Bore Magpies, Arlparra Dockers and Arnkawenyerr Swans.

In 2006, Dinny and his wife Josie Kunoth Petyarre, a well exhibited and awarded artist herself, embarked on a major project where they carved sixteen sculptures of AFL football players, one from each club in the league. These included well known players such as Nathan Buckley, Chris Judd, Gary Ablett, and Adam Goodes. These sculptures came to the attention of curator Phil Manning at AFL World, who invited Dinny and Josie to exhibit at AFL World. The resultant exhibition, Centre Bounce, explored the central role of football to remote Indigenous communities. In 2009, Dinny entered five sculptures of his favourite AFL players Shaun McManus, Michael O'Loughlin, Buddy Franklin, Leon Davis and David Wirrpanda, titled Dinny's Dream Team.

'They are all great players – I like to gather around the television with my sons Alan, Simon, Patrick and Benjamin and watch the AFL even better is going to see my sons play for the Apungalingum Eagles in our local bush football competition, families come from all around to watch the bush football games although not as many people as at the MCG.' – Dinny Kunoth, 2009

Living in a remote outstation in the Utopia region, some 250 kilometres north east of Alice Springs, hasn't hindered his innovation. Prior to becoming an artist, as a young man Dinny worked at many stations in the Eastern desert, branding and mustering cattle at Utopia Station, Waiter River Station and Amaroo Station. During the 80's, Dinny lived at Soakage Bore in Utopia, a small community in the heart of Ahalpere country, with a number of now high profile names in Australian art; the late Minnie Pwerle, the late Lily Sandover, and the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Nowadays, Dinny lives at Apungalingum in Utopia and attends the Baptist Church which takes place every Sunday at Camel Camp approximately an hour's drive away. He is often found playing his guitar or keyboard in the band whilst his wife Josie sings, performing spiritual gospel music. Dinny and his family also enjoy visiting horse racing events, in particularly the Harts Range Races which have become one of Australia's largest remote bush sports weekends attracting crowds of up to 1,000 to the small community.

Drawing on these colourful experiences as well as being a father of nine children with Josie, serve to drive Dinny's desire to share the passions and stories of life in Utopia. His artwork demonstrates solidarity with traditions developed over his family's generations while facing contemporary change, each with a charm and humour that are synonymous with Dinny's personality.



Berndt Museum of Anthropology, University of Western Australia, WA

City of Perth Collection, Perth, WA

Gold Coast City Art Collection, Qld

Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth, WA

The Mbantua Collection, Alice Springs


2007 Willoughby Art Prize, Willoughby Civic Centre, Chatswood, NSW
2007 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, Woollahra Council Readleaf Building, Woollahra, NSW
2008 Stanthorpe Art Prize, Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, Stanthorpe, Qld
2008 Basil Sellers Art Prize, Ian Potter Museum, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic
2008 The Alice Prize, Araluen Cultural Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2008 25th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
2008 Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award, Queensland Art Gallery, South Bank, Qld
2008 WA Indigenous Art Awards, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, WA
2009 26th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
2009 Stan and Maureen Duke gold Coast Art Prize, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Surfers Paradise, Qld
2009 City of Swan Art Awards, Midland Town Hall, Midland, WA
2010 The Alice Prize, Araluen Cultural Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2010 27th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
2010 WINNER, 1st Prize Category C: Sculpture and Objects, The Waterhouse Natural History Prize, The South Australian Museum, SA
2011 HIGHLY COMMENDED, 3D Category, 28th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT



2006 Bird on a Wire; Indigenous Images of Australian Birds, Mossenson Galleries, Carlton, Vic
2007 Centre Bounce: Football Carvings from Dinny Kemarre and Josie Kunoth Petyarre, AFL World, Melbourne, Vic
2007 Arrkerre thene Irretye (Night Owl and Eagle): Paintings and Sculpture from Dinny Kemarre and Josie Kunoth Petyarre, Mossenson Galleries, Collingwood, Vic
2009 Togart Contemporary Art Exhibition, Parliament House, Darwin, NT
2009 The Shilo Project, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic
2010 The Shilo Project, S.H.Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2010 Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Vic
2011 Dinny Kunoth Kemarre; the First Solo Exhibition, Mbantua Gallery Mornington, Mornington, Vic