Aboriginal Artist Sarah Morton Kngwarreye

Sarah Morton Kngwarreye

Born: 1961

Deceased: 2019

Language Group: Alyawarre

Country: Ngkwarlerlaneme and Arnkawenyerr, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Batik on Silk, Wood Carving

Subjects: Ilyarnayt (Acacia validinervia), Country, Awelye (Women's Ceremony), Narrative Camp Scene, Alpeyt (flowers), Rainbow Story (Boor-la-da), Tharrkarr (Sweet Honey Grevillea), Yerrampe (Honey Ant), Bush Foods, Bush Medicine

Sarah is the third daughter of Utopian artist Mary Morton Kemarre and second wife to Louie Pwerle (now deceased). Sarah, with her mother and sisters, Lucky, Audrey, Ruby, Janice and Hazel, were all part of the batik workshops in the 1980's at Utopia. Sarah's work is featured in the 'Robert Holmes á Court' exhibition and collection which has toured extensively within Australia and abroad.

Sarah began painting in the summer of 1988-9 as part of the CAAMA project with the Utopia women's paintings: 'The First works on Canvas, A Summer Project'. She has continued to paint with acrylics on canvas and has also participated in batik work, and wood sculptures.

Sarah first started painting for Mbantua Gallery in 1990-1. In 2003 Sarah travelled with her sister Lucky to Melbourne for her paintings. Sarah resided at Arnkawenyerr in the Utopia Region with her sisters and extended family. Painting was a part of life for Sarah which she enjoyed doing when not travelling for her education or participating in cultural business. She attended Bachelor College periodically which has seen her travel to Darwin, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.

Sarah painted a variety of different stories which she said came from two different Countries of which she belonged to. These two countries are Ngkwarlerlaneme and Arkawenyerr. She also painted the ceremonial body paint designs that came from these countries and also her mother's country, Antarrengeny.


Museum of Victoria, Melbourne

The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs

The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth


2007 Patterns of Power, Art from the Eastern Desert, Simmer on the Bay, Sydney
1989 Utopia Women's Paintings, the First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988-1989 SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney
1990 'Utopia - A Picture Story,' an exhibition of works on silk from the Holmes á Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Eire and Scotland
1991 Aboriginal Women's Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1993 ARATJARA, Art of the First Australians Touring: Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Hayward Gallery, London; Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark
1999 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2000 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2001 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2002 Mbantua Gallery - Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
2002 Mbantua Gallery - 'The Cove Gallery' Portland, Oregon USA
2002 Mbantua Gallery - Urban Wine Works, Portland, Oregon USA
2002 Mbantua Gallery - Mary's Woods, Portland, Oregon USA
2004 Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT
2005 Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT
2006 Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT
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


Further References

Brody, A. Utopia Women's Paintings: the First Works on Canvas, Summer Project, 1988-89, exhib. Cat., Heytesbury Holdings, Perth, 1989
Brody, A. Utopia: a Picture Story, 99 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes á Court Collection, Heytesbury Holdings, Perth, 1990. Aratjara, Art of the First Australians: Traditional and Contemporary Works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Artists, exhib. Cat., Dumont, Buchverlag, Koln, 1993. Aboriginal Women's Exhibition, exhbit. Cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1991
NATSIVAD Biographical detail
Latz, P. Bushfires and Bushtucker, IAD Press, Alice Springs, 1995