As a previous ceremonial painter, Lorna began dot-style painting on canvas in 1986 and soon developed her own unique style which became increasingly free, abstract and bold. She applied the paint in liberal quantities to produce works with bright, clear colours ranging from intense oranges to pinks, blues and lime greens. Widely recognised as an accomplished artist, she passed away in 2006, aged in her eighties.
Lorna Fencer Napurrula was born around 1924 at Yartulu Yartulu, and is custodian of land called Yummurrpa, south of the Granites Mine in the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory. The Yarla (Yam) Dreaming track originates from this region and travels north towards Lajamanu. In 1949, along with many Warlpiri people, Lorna Napurrula was forcibly transported to the government settlement of Lajamanu at Hookers Creek, in the country of the Gurindji people, 400 kilometres north of their own country near Yuendumu. Despite being uprooted from her traditional land, Lorna nevertheless maintained her cultural identity through ceremonial activity and art, and asserted her position as a prominent elder and teacher in the Lajamanu community. She was also a member of the artist’s co-operative in Lajamanu, the Warnayaka Art Centre. Until her death in December 2006, Lorna lived predominantly at Lajamanu and Katherine (650 kilometres apart), travelling regularly between them. She was a senior Lajamanu artist. Lorna was custodian of the Caterpillar (luju) and Bush Potato (yarla) Dreamings that are associated with that land. She was also custodian of Dreamings associated with bush onion, yam and also bush tomato, bush plum, ngalatji (little white flower), many different seeds and water, wallaby and certain men’s stories including boomerangs for the Napurrula, Nakamarra, Japurrula, and Jakamarra skin groups. The travels of Napurrula and Nakamarrra moiety or “skin” groups were the inspiration for Lorna’s work. Source: National Gallery of Victoria.
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