Joy Kngwarreye Jones is the youngest artist to emerge from a family of world renowned artists, which include her sister (now deceased) Lily Sandover Kngwarreye, brother Freddy Kngwarreye Jones and aunt Emily Kame Kngwarreye (considered one of the most important and prominent indigenous artists ever, now deceased). She is also related to Kudditji Kngwarreye.
She was born at MacDonnell Downs Station in 1959. Joy's inspiration for her paintings is derived from her knowledge of Awelye and the ceremonies associated with it. Her late sister Lily Sandover was a driving force in convincing Joy to continue to express the family 'Dreaming' of 'Awelye' on canvas/linen.
Awelye refers to the ceremonial world of women, women's social structure and ritual knowledge, more commonly known as 'women's business'. It also includes women's ceremonial body designs of which Joy's paintings are derived.
Joy Kngwarreye Jones took her first steps into the world of cultural expression on canvas, as she embarked upon her ritual education (a duty) passed down to her through the women elders in her family.
She learnt about the Awelye designs while adorning the bodies of her kinswomen, prior to taking part in a ceremony. The designs and motifs painted on the breasts, shoulders and upper torsos of ceremonial dancers are the source of inspiration for her paintings.
During the female-only ceremonies, women congregate around various ceremonial sites in the Utopia region, or sacred ground paintings. It is at these ceremonial gatherings that the women, especially the younger ones, are taught the Tribal Dreamings, or rules of life by their elders, now including Joy, to eventually master and in turn, pass on to their grandchildren.
Her artistic interpretative skills are at a level now, of being able to express the emotion behind the artwork, and imparting to the viewer a deeper, almost spiritual connection to Joy's Ceremonial Traditions. Joy's paintings are now housed in many important collections nationally and internationally.
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 Holmes a Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Eire & Scotland
2006 - Senior Women of Utopia, GalleryG, Brisbane
2007 - Patterns of Power, Art from the Eastern Desert, Simmer on the Bay, Sydney.
2007 - Eastern Desert Dreaming, Artists from Utopia, GalleryG, Brisbane
2007 - Eastern Desert Song - Brush with Art Festival, Prairie Hotel, Parachilna
2008 - Power of Place, Paintings and Sculpture from the Eastern Desert, Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute Inc.
2008 - From the Desert to the Sea, Yurlunggar Art, Brisbane
Aboriginal Art Museum, The Netherlands
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth