Selling Emily: confessions of a white advisor

In this article Philip Batty, a former art teacher at the Aboriginal community of Papunya  offers some personal reflections on his involvements with the rise to fame of indigenous artist Emily Kngwarreye and other indigenous pieces and attempts to make sense of them. Batty discusses some of the problems associated with viewing these traditional works within the Western framework of modern art. He proceeds to offer some speculative answers as to how various political, economic, historical and aesthetic conventions transformed Aboriginal religious business into art. Batty uses the work of Emily Kngwarreye to exemplify how indigenous works can become merely a mirror image of European desires.

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