Born: c. 1934
Language Group: Anmatyerre
Country: Ahalpere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Batik on Silk, Seed Jewellery
Subjects: Anwekety (Bush Plum or Conkerberry)
Kathleen began her art career in the late 1970's in the medium of batik with over eighty other women from the Utopia Region in Central Australia. Her work in batik is featured in 'Utopia A Picture Story'.
When the acrylics on canvas movement swept Utopia in the late 1980's, Kathleen like the other women swiftly changed mediums. Kathleen's popularity as an artist grew in the early 2000's for her simplistic Anwekety' paintings. Her work has been exhibited around the globe and is also featured frequently in Aboriginal Art Auctions.
Kathleen speaks little English, but absolutely loves to talk, in particularly about her Dreamings and her country. She is enthusiastic about her work and continues to try and teach the wider world about her paintings and the Anwekety that features in them. Her influence is so great that her children are also starting to paint for Mbantua Gallery and, we hope, keep the tradition alive.
This amazingly energetic elderly woman has a vibrant quality in her work that is unbeatable. Kathleen's paintings reflect her energy and colour. The paintings are being well received not only amongst the traditional Aboriginal art collectors, but the new wave of art lovers wanting to incorporate the element of traditional style of the indigenous people, and take advantage of the amazing colour combination and effect of Kathleen's paintings.
We can be thankful that Kathleen is still able to impart her knowledge and tradition in such a beautiful way and hope that the world continues to show their appreciation of this woman's tradition and story, while she is still able to tell it.
The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
|1990||Utopia A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Holmes á Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Eire and Scotland|
|2005||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions; New York, Connecticut Feb-Mar 2006 Colours of Utopia, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle|
|2008||Emily and Her Legacy, Hillside Gallery, Tokyo with Coo-ee Art Sydney in conjunction with the opening of the landmark retrospective exhibition Utopia the Genius of Emily Kngwarreye at the National Art Centre, Tokyo, Japan|
|2008||Dreamings the Land, Outback Aboriginal Land, Caulfield, Vic|
|Brody, A.||1990 Utopia, a Picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes á Court Collection, Heytesbury Holdings Ltd Perth|
|Latz, P.||1995, Bushfires and Bushtucker. IAD Press, Alice Springs|
The conkerberry (or conkleberry) known as Anwekety or bush plum to Kathleen, is a sweet black berry that is favoured by desert aboriginals. They only grow on the plant (Carissa lanceolata) for a few weeks of the year, however Kathleen's people collect plenty of them and store them dry, soaking them in water again before being consumed. The plant of the conkerberry is a tangled, spiny shrub that can grow up to 2m high. After rain fragrant white flowers bloom. This plant also bares medicinal properties. The orange inner bark from the roots can be soaked in water and the resultant solutions can be used as a medicinal wash. This is particularly favoured for skin and eye conditions. The thorns on the shrub can be used to cure warts.
Kathleen paints the conkerberry (dot work). In Anmatyerre the conkerberry is called Anwekety. This fruit looks very similar to a plum and is often referred to in English by Kathleen as a 'bush plum'. In the Dreamtime, winds blew from all directions, carrying the Anwekety seed over Kathleen's ancestors' land. The first Anwekety of the Dreamings then grew, bore fruit and dropped more seeds. Many winds blew the seeds all over the Dreaming lands./