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Janet Goldner Kngwarreye

"Women's Ceremony" by Janet Golder Kngwarreye


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  • 110cm by 95cm
  • Acrylic paint on canvas

About Janet 

Janet Golder Kngwarreye is the daughter of Margaret Golder and Sammy Pitjara. Janet is an Anmatyerre artist from Mulga Bore on the Utopia Homelands. She lives at Boundary Bore with her husband, Ronnie Bird, and their 3 children. Janet has been part of the Batik movement at Utopia in the Northern Territory and typically paints stories associated with her country in this region.

The artistic line in her family runs deep. Her grandmothers are esteemed Utopia artists Polly Ngale and Angelina Pwerle, her uncle is Greeny Purvis and her sister Belinda Golder Kngwarreye is also an accomplished artist.

Janet began painting in 1987, learning her skills from family members and taking on the subject matter that was familiar to the women artists in her family group. These include the Awelye Women’s Ceremonial Body Paint and the Bush Yam Leaf designs and stories as well as Bush Medicine and Mountain Devil Dreaming. In recent times Janet has developed further stories based around the women’s cultural practice on Country, combining imagery of bush tucker along with features of the Utopia landscape.

Janet Golder Kngwarreye is highly skilled in her use of color with her paintings often fusing black and white design with color elements, or a full spectrum of color, showcasing elements of her country and the bush medicine that grow there. Janet has exhibited in galleries around Australia and internationally.

About the Artwork

Janet has painted a Women’s Dreaming story, combining her country with the bush tucker and waterholes that are imperative when the women go out bush for the ceremony which can take up to a week. The women conduct important ceremonies at these sites, including that of the Desert Yam (or Bush Plum) story from her family’s country.

The yam grows underground with its viny shrub growing above ground up to one meter high. It is normally found on Spinifex sand plains and produces large flowers after a summer rain. The yam is a tuber, or swollen root, of the shrub and tastes much like the common sweet potato. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is still a staple food for the desert aborigines where it can be harvested at any time of the year. It is also renowned for its medicinal properties. This medicine is used to heal cuts, wounds, bites, rashes and as an insect repellent.

During ceremonies, the women pay homage to the spirit of this special plant in the hope that it will regenerate.

Awards and Recognition

2020 one of Janet's works has been chosen to decorate the Coles supermarket in Alice Springs


Selected Group Exhibitions 

2021 Top 20 2021, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Sounds of Summer, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2020 60 by 60 - Small Paintings, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2020 Central Focus, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Cup of Joy - New Works from Rising Stars, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2019 Landscape Colours, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2018 Painting on Country - Utopia Artists, Japingka Gallery, Perth