- Other Artworks
Lorna Fencer Naparrurla was born in 1920 in Yumurrpa country which is situated near the Granites in the Tanami Desert, Northern Territory. The Yarla (Yam) Dreaming track originates from this region and travels north toward Lajamanu. Today Lorna lives predominantly at Lajamanu and occasionally in Katherine. She is a senior Warlpiri (language/tribal law group) woman.
Whilst Lorna has “painted up” all her life, meaning that she was raised as a skilled painter of decorative body designs for ceremonies, her artworks on canvas only date from 1986. Lorna initiated her rise in the art world by painting for the Warnayaka Art Centre, Northern Territory. In recent years, Lorna’s work has become increasingly extravagant, abstract and sensual, catching the attention of art collectors from around the world and giving rise to comparisons with the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
Lorna’s Dreamings include Yarla (Yam), 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.
Lorna typically paints with acrylics on primed Belgium linen or unstretched cotton duck. Very occasionally she will also paint onto primed artboards. Her artefacts include coolamons, kudurru (fighting sticks), quartz rocks and slate.
Lorna’s style is extremely bold, free and abstract. She applies the paint in liberal quantities to the brush before touching down on the canvas and layering the colours one upon the next. Upon completion of the work, only the most public aspects of her Dreaming are revealed to the observer, the most intimate details are concealed.
Lorna, typical of many contemporary Aboriginal artists, also uses a palette of vibrant colours ranging from intense oranges to pinks, blues and lime greens.
Lorna paints extensively for the Warnayaka Art Centre at Lajamanu with special commissions for fine art galleries such as Jinta Desert Art, Sydney and Aboriginal Art Galleries of Australia, Melbourne. Lorna’s artistic achievements have been recognised by her inclusion in the Murdoch Court at the National Gallery of Victoria and her invitation to participate in the triennial 1998 John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize. In 1997 Lorna was granted the Gold Coast City Art Award.
Major exhibitions of her artwork include a 1988 ensemble exhibition “People, Place, and Art” held at the Hilton International Hotel in Adelaide, South Australia, and in 1990 at the Robert Holmes a Court Collection, touring USA. In 1991 her work was included in a group exhibition “Aboriginal Art” shown in the Australian Embassy Washington, USA and also at the High Court, Canberra. In the same year, Lorna was included in “Aboriginal Art & Spirituality,” curated by Rosemary Crumlin & Anthony Knight in Canberra. In 1994 Lorna exhibited in “Yarpakurlangu Wirrkardu” alongside a range of emerging artists from Batchelor College in Tennant Creek, NT.
By 1996 Lorna saw her works displayed in the group exhibition “All About Art” at the Alcaston Gallery in Melbourne followed by the “Me Warlpiri” exhibition in 1997. In the same year, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, hosted “Women’s Body Paint” and “Paint Up Big: Walpiri Women’s Art From Lajamanu” group exhibitions. The National Gallery acquired some of Lorna’s finest works following the exhibitions. Growing popularity increased Lorna’s profile during 1998 and gave rise to a solo exhibition of her work, “Yulyulu,” at Alcaston House Gallery in Melbourne. In 1999 Lorna Fencer Naparrula was featured in a mixed exhibition at Gondwana Gallerie in Rome, Italy and the Tjinyipjila Exhibition at the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C., USA. As recent as late 1999 her works featured in the Indigenous Art of the Dreamtime held in the main foyer of the United Nations Building New York, USA. Recent exhibitions include 2001 Tandanya, Adelaide; 2001 ‘Icons of Australian Aboriginal Art,’ Singapore. During 1998 the Australian Heritage Commission Collection, Canberra, acquired some of her works, and today Lorna’s art is also held in the Christensen Collections of Victoria; Holmes a Court Collection of Western Australia; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Aboriginal Galleries of Australia, Melbourne; Artbank; Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin.