Lorna Fencer Napurrula


This tribute is a dedication from Central Art in memory of this great Australian Aboriginal artist.

Lorna Napurrula Fencer (1920 – 2006) was an outstanding Aboriginal elder and an artist greatly admired for her dynamic and pioneering artistic expression.

Her works in acrylic over the last twenty years of her life was notable for its extravagant, abstract and sensual qualities and caught the attention of art collectors from around the world. Her work was exhibited at the United Nations in New York and in the Australian Embassy in Washington.

Lorna Fencer Napurrula was born into the Warlpiri traditional life style in the Tanami desert in Central Australia.

She was a painter most of her life; a skilled painter of decorative body designs for women’s ceremony. In 1986 she joined Warnayaka Art and Cultural Corporation with her counterpart Emily Kame Kngwarreye from Utopia and together they pioneered the women’s art movement departing from the traditional iconography that men painted to more personal and artistic expression.

As a senior custodian of several Dreaming stories, Lorna was entitled to paint Dreamings relating to the theme of bush foods including the Yarla (sweet Potato), the caterpillar(luju) and some men’s stories including boomerangs.

The Yarla Dreaming, which tells of the ancestral women from the Napurrula and Nakamarra tribes searching for bush potato is a dominant theme in her work.

Her seniority in her tribe and her strength of character was reflected in her paintings. She visually described the important information on when and where to gather food with her distinctive style, using vibrant colours and layering techniques with an exuberance and depth not often seen in paintings from this region. Her work is highly valued.

Aboriginal word glossary