8 Of 9 Works Sell At Frieze Masters

We are thrilled to share the news that eight of nine works by Emily Kam Kngwarray – the first Australian First Nations artist to be exhibited at Frieze Masters – sold for over USD$2.7 million at the Fair.

Emily’s work was embraced and celebrated by an audience of artists, gallerists, art lovers and collectors from around the world at the Fair, and she was declared one on the top five women artists to discover at Frieze Masters by artnet.

The focal point of the exhibition, Muna – Everything 1991, and Kame Colour 1995 were acquired by a major museum in the U.S., further broadening the representation of this important artist in international institutions.

Alhalker, the artist’s physical and spiritual home, is an unwavering central theme in her practice and is represented in Alhalkere 1990 which sold to a private U.S. Museum and in Untitled – Alhalkere 1993 which sold to a private Swiss collector.

Emily’s middle name, Kam, means yam flower or yam seed, conveying her embodiment of the Altyerr for the yam and her authority as a holder of its Law. The role of the totemic yam is seen in Untitled – Yam Story 1995, which sold to a private collector in Hong Kong and Ceremony II – Yam Series 1995 which sold to a private U.K. collector.

Untitled 1993 sold on the penultimate night of the Fair and the eighth work, Untitled – Alhalkere 1993 sold the morning after the Fair.

Director & Founder, D’Lan Davidson said, ‘It has been a privilege to present the work of Emily Kam Kngwarray, Australia’s most critically acclaimed contemporary First Nations artist, to a global Art Fair audience for the first time at Frieze Masters 2023.

We are thrilled with the response to her work – which has been embraced and celebrated – and to have sold eight works for over $2.7 million.’

And ‘This is a defining moment for Emily, with a solo, almost sell out exhibition at Frieze Masters, and an upcoming major retrospective at The National Gallery of Australia. We look forward to seeing what is next for this extraordinary artist.’

Above: Emily Kam Kngwarray: Everything Installation Views, Frieze Masters 2023 | Photography by Dan Weill

Spelling of Emily Kam Kngwarray
Dr Jennifer Green, a prominent linguist who has worked with the women of Utopia since the 1970s – and who was involved in the batik workshops where Emily and the Utopia women first began painting – has recently contributed an essay for the exhibition catalogue of the upcoming major retrospective of Emily Kam Kngwarray at the National Gallery of Australia. In this essay and in other written material that accompanies the exhibition, all words in the Anmatyerr language, including the spelling of Emily’s skin name Kngwarray, are spelt following spelling conventions found in the Anmatyerr dictionary.