Lorna Napurrurla Fencer

Aboriginal Name:   ‘YULYURLU’

Domain:   YUMURRPA

Language:   WARLPIRI

Skin Name:   NAPURRURLA

Clan:   WARLPIRI NATION

Lorna Fencer Napurrurla was a senior artist from Lajamanu in central Northern Territory. She was born around 1924 near Granites mine in the Tanami Desert and is custodian of “Yummurrpa” country and the Caterpillar and Bush Potato (Yam) Dreaming that are associated with that land.

Along with many Warlpiri people, she was forcibly taken to the government settlement of Lajamanu in 1949, 400kms north of her own country. Despite being uprooted from her traditional land, she had an unrivalled knowledge of tribal law and had maintained her cultural identity, the songs and dances that accompanied the dreaming of her land.

Lorna was a skilled painter of decorative body designs for ceremonies and traditionally painted on coolamons and digging sticks and for ceremonial purposes (body and ground paintings). In 1986 she painted on canvas for the first time and had gone on to develop a rich, distinctive style. Vivid colour and liberal use of paint are signatures of her work. She had departed from the classical dot style to a free, abstract imagery, working in layers so that the most intimate aspects of her Dreaming are concealed from the observer. She had gained prominence as a contemporary Aboriginal artist and was represented in International and Australian Collections including the Holmes a Court Collection, National Gallery of Victoria, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and the Ganter Myer Collection among others.