Born: Utopia, NT
LANGUAGE GROUP: Anmatyerre
COMMUNITY: Utopia, NT
Janet Golder Kngwarreye is an Anmatyerre artist from Mulga Bore on the Utopia Homelands, located roughly 240kms north east of Alice Springs. Her family is brimming with artistic talent, and Janet grew up surrounded by some of the great Utopian artists. She learnt her painting skills from an early age as well as a deep and intimate knowledge of her Country and Women's Dreamings.
Janet is the daughter of Margaret Golder and Sammy Pitjara. 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 is married to Ronnie Bird, son of famous artist Ada Bird Petyarre.
Janet grew up during the time of the Utopian batik project (1980s). She would sit and watch her family as they began to transfer traditional imagery and knowledge from sand and body painting to silk, and then eventually to canvas. The skills learned by the Utopia artists in the batik making process gave them a distinctive approach to painting, incorporating techniques such as layering and fine line making. Artists also developed several different painting styles to depict their Dreamings and individual connections to their Country.
Gaining all this knowledge, Janet now paints a number of different Dreaming stories including Bush Medicine Leaves, Awelye and My Country. Janet's recent body of work is an exciting progression of the 'My Country' style, combining imagery of women's cultural practices, bush tucker, along with features of the Utopian landscape. She fuses bold black and white designs and iconography with colourful elements, creating dynamic and graphic works. They have been showcased in exciting projects such as the artwork commission for Coles in Alice Springs. Janet was also invited to transform a Smeg FAB28 fridge into a work of art at the 2014 National Architecture Awards in Darwin.
Janet has exhibited in galleries around Australia and internationally. She is a highly skilled and much sought after artist.
Copyright Kate Owen Gallery March 2023