Aboriginal Art

Lorna Fencer Napurrula

Lorna Fencer Napurrula was born in 1920 in Yumurrpa country, which is situated near the Granites in the Tanami Desert, Northern Territory. She passed away in 2006. Her main dreamings are Yarla, Wapirti and Marlujarra. These Dreamings entitle her to paint subjects such as the bush yam (sweet potato), “ngalatji” (little white flower), bush tomato, caterpillar, wallaby and certain men’s stories including boomerangs. The Yarla (Yam) Dreaming depicts the track where traditionally women looked for Yams. The track originates from the Granites region and travels north toward Lajamanu. The caterpillar dreamings are usually bright deipictions of leaves eaten by the caterpillar.

Lorna Fencer lived predominantly at Lajamanu and occasionally in Katherine with her extended family. She was a senior Warlpiri (language/tribal law group) woman which meant she had the authority to “paint up”the decorative body designs for ceremonies. Lorna began painting on canvas for the Warnayaka Art Centre, Northern Territory in 1986. Her work developed into her signature style with extravagant, thick bright paint and abstracted versions of her dreaming. This style caught the attention of art collectors from around the world and giving rise to comparisons with the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
Lorna typically painted with acrylics on primed Belgian linen or unstretched cotton duck. Her artifacts include coolamons, kudurru (fighting sticks), quartz rocks and slate.

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