By ERWIN CHLANDA
Earth’s Creation, one of the most significant art works in Central Australia, looks like being lost to Alice Springs even as the preparations for the National Indigenous Art Gallery here are taking their plodding course.
Neither the NT Government nor the town council are interested in bidding for the work as it is going to auction in Sydney, where it has drawn huge interest and is expected to sell for at least $2m.
The masterpiece by the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye (below right), a massive 2.7 metres high and 6.3 metres wide, is or has been owned by local man Tim Jennings and it was on show in his Mbantua Gallery, corner Todd Mall and Gregory Terrace.
In 2007, Earth’s Creation became the first work by a female Australian artist and the first Aboriginal artwork to break the million-dollar mark at auction.
Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss, when asked to comment, said “we will turn our attention to other critical aspects of the National Indigenous Art Gallery, including curation” but for now “we are focused on working with the community to determine the best possible location for the institution in Alice Springs.
“We will be developing an acquisition strategy to guide how we source significant works from right across the globe.
“We will certainly be considering acquiring works by Ms Kngwarreye as part of that process but curation and acquisition will need to be done in a strategic and planned way with the assistance of experts in this area.”
Mayor Damien Ryan says the council will not be bidding for the work because no decision to do so has been made.
The Australian National Museum’s website says that in “this masterpiece of grand proportions … her use of dots reaches its crescendo, with dots merging, separating and dominating in various configurations. They fuse together to create planes of colour structured into mobile shapes, or are choreographed to form lines that suggest dance movements.”
The 1994 painting has been referred to as the Blue Poles of Australia.
The artist was born in Utopia, Soakage Bore, north-east of Alice Springs, in about 1910 and died here in 1996.
Mr Jennings did not respond to requests for comment.
Images Australian National Museum.
By ERWIN CHLANDA