Abie Loy Kemarre
Born: c. 1972
Skin Name: Kemarre
Language: Alyawarre/ Eastern Anmatyerre
Subjects and Themes (Dreaming): Bush Turkey, Bush Leaves, Sandhills, Women’s Body Painting.
Abie Loy Kemarre’s works on canvas have been shown and collected nationally and internationally. Her paintings are held in major collections all over the world and she was twice a finalist in the Telstra NATSIAA Awards. She rightly is considered as one of the most talented and exciting young Aboriginal artists.
Abie is a third-generation Aboriginal painter who comes from an outstanding painting family. Her Grandmother is the celebrated Kathleen Petyarre, an Aboriginal artist who began back in the days of batik and remains amongst the greats of the Aboriginal painting movement. She has been responsible for guiding Abie’s career and, in turn, Abie has learned a great deal about her indigenous traditions and modern painting techniques. Kathleen Petyarre’s painting sisters including Violet, Gloria and Ada Bird Petyarre, have also been influential while all of them drew inspiration from another family member, Emily Kame Kngwarreye. It might be seen that Abie has been in the perfect position to develop as a unique Aboriginal painter, encouraged and assisted on all sides.
Indeed, Abie was just six years old when the batik movement began at Utopia. The activity of art and art making has always surrounded her. It might be said that indigenous modernity in art was part of her own ‘traditional’ upbringing. With traditional dreaming’s and mythologies, and her own innovative painting techniques, Abie has created a body of work that places her at the head of the ‘rising generation’ of Utopia painters.
Today it could rightly be claimed that Abie is arguably one of the most talented and exciting young Indigenous artists – or for that matter, discipline, innovation and technique.
While she is amongst the top contemporary painters in the country her subject matter is traditional. Bush Turkey Dreaming and Leaves are the two of the major stories is entitled to paint under Eastern Anmatyerre Law. Christine Nicholls has noted that Abie,
“…….. depicts her Dreaming Ancestor, the female Bush Bustard (Ardeotis Australis) walking, eating her way through, and sometimes flying through her ancestral country. As the Bush Hen walks along, she eats her favorite fruit, particularly solanum berries like the desert raisin.”
The other major Dreaming that Abie visually represents is the Bush Leaf (or Leaves) Dreaming. This is an inheritance from Abie’s father’s side. The bush leaf grows in a swamp near some sandhills close to the Utopia region in Abie’s grandfather’s country and it is known for its wonderful curative properties. These bush leaves can be used to cure a raft of illnesses including colds, headaches, and bad sores. A paste is made from the leaves, which is then rubbed into the affected part of the body. The leaves can also be mixed with water and drunk as a cure for a range of ailments.”
Abie’s work in batik has been exhibited in Bali, and her works on canvas have been shown and collected nationally and internationally. Her paintings are now held in major collections all over the world. Abie has twice been a finalist in the Telstra NATSIAA awards (2001, 2005).Abie Loy and Werner
Painting/s by Abie Loy Kemarre: