Collection: Jedda Purvis Kngwarreye

Born: 1969
Region: Utopia
Language: Anmatyerre
Subjects and Dreaming: Bush Yam and many more

Jedda is the daughter of accomplished Utopian artist Greeny Purvis Petyarre (who sadly passed away in May 2010. He was the eldest nephew of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye and collaborated with his aunt for a period, combining their respective Yam Seed Dreamings. ) and Kathleen Kemarre.

Jedda has three sisters, Jennifer, Judy and Maureen.  Jedda was born in 1969 near Boundary Bore Outstation in the Utopia region of Central Australia.

Jedda’s artistic career began in the late 1980’s when as a young woman she participated in the famous “Utopia: A Picture Story”, which was a community project where silk batiks were introduced to the women of Utopia. The project was such a success that the full collection of 88 silk batiks was acquired by the Robert Holmes a Court Collection which they toured the exhibition through Eire and Scotland. Jedda’s contribution to the collection was a bush scene whereby she told a story of men and women sitting at their camps sharing hunting and gathering stories with the children while the other members were out hunting for emu and perentie using traditional weapons. Her batik is full of individual stories which come together to tell the “Bush Scene”.

An emerging artist, Jedda, depicts the Dreaming “Kame”, which was handed down to her from her father’s side of the family. It is one of Utopia’s most famous Dreamtime stories, which was shared with Emily Kame Kngwarreye, the most well known and collectable Aboriginal artist of all time.

“Kame” or Yam is an important plant which grows in the Utopia region; it is an important food source for Aboriginal people as well as a traditional healing plant, as it has medicinal properties used to treat ailments such as sores and bites. The women celebrate the pencil yam through ceremonies which ensure perpetrual germination for future seasons. The Aboriginal word for pencil yam is atnwelarr and it is a trailing ground creeper with bright green leaves and yellow flowers which spread across large areas of land. Jedda depicts the root system of the yam plant.

Jedda’s artworks a held in the Holmes a Court Collection. Her paintings are part of a cultural activity for her, which she enjoys immensely.