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Lorna Fencer Napurrula

Country: Lajamunu

DOB: C.1920 to 6th Dec 2006


Lorna Fencer Napurrula, country situated near the Granites in the Tanami Desert, Northern Territory. The Yarla (Yam) Dreaming track originates from this region and travels north toward Lajamanu. She is a senior Warlpiri (language/tribal law group) woman. Today Lorna lives predominantly at Lajamanu.

Lorna is a skilled painter of decorative body designs for ceremonies.

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 catching the attention of art collectors from around the world and giving her comparison with the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

Lorna’s Dreamings include Yarla (Yam or Bush Potato), 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 mens stories including boomerangs.

Lorna typically paints with acrylics on primed Belgium linen.

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’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


Subjects: Yarla, Wapirti and Marlujarra. paints: Sweet potato,"ngalatji" little white flower, bush tomato, bush yam. ; 



Aboriginal Art Museum, The Netherlands.

Artbank, Sydney.

Christensen Collection.

Gantner Myer Collection of Aboriginal Art.

Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Gold Coast, QLD.

Holmes A Court Collection, Perth.

Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth.

Laverty Collection, Sydney.

Leewuin Estate.

Major Private collections in Australia and overseas.

Margaret Carnegie Collection.

Museum & Art Galleries of the NT, Darwin.

Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.



1997 – Conrad Jupiter Casino, Gold Coast City Art Award


Commissions: - John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize, National Gallery of Victoria


Individual Exhibitions:

2007 - Lorna Napurrula Fencer (1923-2006), Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA.

2005 - Lorna Napurrula Fencer: Recent Paintings, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney; All about Yumarrpa, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne.


Group Exhibitions:

2008 - Paintings from remote communities: Indigenous Australian art from the Laverty collection, Newcastle Regional Gallery, Newcastle, NSW.

2005 - Decouvrir, Rever, Investir, Australian Embassy, Paris, France.

2004 - The Dancers - Warlpiri Women, Art Mob, Hobart; Colour Power - Aboriginal Art Post 1984, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Melbourne.21st Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

2003 - 20th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

2002 - Lorna Napurrula Fencer, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, Western Australia; Lorna Napurrula Fencer – The Big Picture, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne; Lorna Fencer - Inner Spring – New Works from the Tanami, Mary Place Gallery, Sydney

2001 - Little Gems, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, Western Australia.

2000 - Lajamanu, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, Western Australia; Opening of Yuwayi Art Centre, Yuwayi Gallery, Sydney, NSW.

1999 - Yapa, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

1998 - Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory; Yulyulu, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne; 6th Australian Contemporary Art Fair, Exhibition Building, Melbourne; Warnayaka Warlpiri, Karen Brown Gallery, Darwin; Wild Warlpiri Women, Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney.

1997/8 - John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

1997 - Women’s Body Paint, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Recent Acquisitions, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Me Warlpiri, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

1996 - All About Art Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

1994 - Yapakurlangu Wirrkardu, Batchelor College, Tennant Creek, Northern Territory.

1991 - Aboriginal Art, Australian Embassy, Washington USA; Paint Up Big: Warlpiri Women’s Art from Lajamanu, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Aboriginal Art and Spirituality, High Court of Australia.

1988 - People, Place and Art, Hilton International Hotel, Adelaide, South Australia.

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