Yulyurlu Lorna Fencer Napurrurla

Dates & times

Thu 10 November — Sun 18 December 2011

Image: Yulyurlu Lorna Fencer Napurrurla
Yam Dreaming
(detail), 2006, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 70 cm. Courtesy Mimi Aboriginal Arts and Crafts


Warlpiri artist Yulyurlu Lorna Fencer Napurrurla (c.1924-2006) was a senior law woman who started painting in 1986. This is the first major survey show of Yulyurlu’s work and it illustrates her exuberant and innovative approach to traditional Warlpiri imagery.  The works in this exhibition have been chosen to show her development over twenty years, in particular her contribution to the Lajamanu region, but also her relationship to the western desert art movement. Often likened to the great Emily Kngwarreye, Yulyurlu achieved considerable acclaim during her lifetime as one of the northern desert region’s most prominent and original artists. The diverse works in the exhibition highlights how differently she approached the many stories about her ancestral lands.  Owning authority as she did over ceremonial imagery Fencer had a confidence that enabled her to experiment within her people’s traditions. Her early work tended to bright colours and asymmetry, which became even more marked later in her career. Her approach also became increasingly loose, gestural and layered. Some of her imagery derives from pictogram symbols for objects and bush foods while others refer to ceremonial body designs connected to a particular dreaming.

The exhibition is being presented by Mimi Aboriginal Arts and Crafts in association with Artback NT Arts Development and Touring to honour one of the Territory’s great doyens of the desert.  The exhibition is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program supporting touing exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of Australian cultural material across Australia.

Curated by Margie West


Updated:  7 January 2013/ Responsible Officer:  DHG Director/ Page Contact:  Drill Hall Gallery