Mary Morton Kemarre - Apeng (Kurrajong tree) Dreaming

Sale price $850.00 Regular price $1,000.00

Artist: Mary Morton Kemarre
Title: Apeng (Kurrajong tree) Dreaming
Size: 90 x 60 cm
Acrylic on canvas stretched on a timber frame and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.


Mary paints the story of Apeng, the desert kurrajong tree.  There is an ancient Dreamtime story belonging to the tree which lies in the heart of Alyawarr land in Mary's country, Antarrengeny north east of Alice Springs.  This tree produces a most important and nutritious see called amern ngkweyang.  Amern in Mary's language means food and Ngkweyang is the aping seed.  Not a habitual practice now, Mary and her people would collect these seeds, burn them to remove the small hairs, and grind them into a paste for making damper (bread).

In this painting, Mary depicts the small lizards that live in this tree as well as its seed pods, with some shown holding the ngkweyang (yellow dots).  Background dot work depicts Mary's country. 

Artist: Mary Morton Kemarre


Skin name: Kemarre (also spelled Akemarr) 
Language group: Alyawarr 
Country: Antarrengeny
Area: Utopia Region, Central Australia
Born: 1931 
Deceased: 2016 

Dreaming: Awely (Body Paint), Bush Plum (Arnwekety)

Mary Morton was involved in the batik movement established at Utopia in the late 1970’s. Today, Mary is a well known Utopia artist, painting her Dreamtime stories and her country, Antarrengeny. She still lived in the Utopia region with her large extended family.  She was a bright and bubbly personality.

One of our great elder women from Utopia, Kwementyaye Morton die on 7 July 2016. She was born in 1925 on MacDonald Downs into the Alyawarr tribe and as one of the senior women on Utopia she had responsibility for initiating young women. She was involved in painting body designs on young women, sung Awely songs to encourage their fertility and teaching them the rules of life. Her country was on the northern end of Utopia and she had custodial responsibility for the Kurrajong tree seed. She was married to Billy Morton (deceased), who was a renowned sculptor. She was passionately involved in maintaining traditional practices for her people and was known as one of the foremost bush medicine women in this area.


Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA

Group Exhibitions

1989  Utopia Women’s Paintings, the First Works On Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988-89, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney

1990  Utopia- A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Robert Holmes á Court Collection by Utopia Artists which toured Eire and Scotland.
1990  Stanislawsk-Birnberg Margo, Journeylines©
1991  The Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and
Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1991  Aboriginal Women’s Exhibition, Art Gallery of N.S.W, Sydney
1993  The Tenth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1994  Yiribana, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
2002 Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery' Portland OR; Urban Wine Works, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR
2003  Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: New City Merchants, Knoxville
TN; Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery', Portland
OR; Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Contemporary Aboriginal Art
Event, Umpqua Bank, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR; Art
From The Dreamtime, Portland Art Museum, Portland OR
2004  Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions; Greenwich, Connecticut
2004-2006 Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice
Springs, N.T, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill
2005 ‘Small Wonders’, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, N.T

Further References

Brody, A, 1989, Utopia Women’s Paintings: the First Work on Canvas, A Summer Project 1988-89., cat., Heytesbury Holdings, Perth
Brody, A., 1990, Utopia: a Picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes á Court Collection, Heytesbury Holdings Ltd, Perth
Isaacs J, 1999, Spirit Country, Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, Hardie Grant Books ©1999
Desart the Aboriginal art centres of Central Australia, 2000, Putting in the Colour – Contemporary Aboriginal Textiles, Jukurrpa Books (IAD Press) ©2000


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