Lorna Fencer Napurrula was born around 1924 at Yartulu Yartulu and died December 2006. Lorna Fencer was custodian of land called Yummurrpa, south of the Granites Mine in the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory and of the Caterpillar (luju) and Bush Potato (yarla) Dreaming that are associated with that land. She was a senior artist from Lajamanu, in the central Northern Territory and was Warlpiri speaker.
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 mens stories including boomerangs for the Napurrula, Nakamarra, Japurrula, and Jakamarra skin groups. The travels of Napurrula and Nakamarrra moiety or "skin" groups are the inspiration for Lorna's work.
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 has maintained her cultural identity through ceremonial activity and art, and has asserted her position as a prominent elder and teacher in the Lajamanu community. She is also a member of the artist's co-operative in Lajamanu, the Warnayaka Art Centre.
Having been raised as a skilled painter of decorative body designs for ceremonies on coolamons and kudurru (fighting sticks), Lorna only began painting on canvas in 1986. She typically painted with acrylics on primed Belgium linen or unstretched cotton duck. Very occasionally she would also paint onto primed art boards. She developed a very unique style and her work became increasingly free, bold and abstract. She appliee the paint in liberal quantities to the brush before touching down on the canvas and layering the colours one upon the next. The thick impasto, which may be produced with acrylic paint, is a crucial factor in her work as are the bright, clear colours palette ranging from intense oranges to pinks, blues and lime greens which she employs. Upon completion of the work, only the most public aspects of her Dreaming are revealed to the observer, the most intimate details are concealed. Furthermore, Lorna mastered an 'all-over' or 'dump-dump' style and another quite different style where she relied on an expressive linear gesture as her elongated marks swirl across the surface of the canvas. In the latter there are quite clearly arrival and departure points - focal points which arrest our wandering gaze. In the former, our vision is set free by the painter to roam ceaselessly from edge to edge of the canvas with an implied invitation to go beyond the edges in every direction.
· 1988 - 'People, Place, and Art' held at the Hilton International Hotel in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
· 1990 - 'Paint up Big', National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.
· 1991 - 'Aboriginal Art', Australian Embassy Washington, USA.
· 1991 - 'Aboriginal Art & Spirituality', High Court of Australia, Canberra, Australia.
· 1994 - 'Yarpakurlangu Wirrkardu' alongside a range of emerging artists from Batchelor College in Tennant Creek, NT.
· 1996 - 'All About Art', Alcaston Gallery in Melbourne, Australia.
· 1997 - 'Women's Body Paint' at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.
· 1998 - John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize, NGV, Melbourne, Australia.
· 1988 - Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra, Australia.
· 1999 - Gondwana Gallerie in Rome, Italy.
· 1999 - 'Tjinyipjila Exhibition', Australian Embassy in Washington D.C., USA.
· 1999 - 'Indigenous Art of the Dreamtime', main foyer of the United Nations Building New York, USA.
· 1998 - 'Kinyarri - My Country', Alcaston House Gallery, Melbourne.
· 1997 - 'Me Warlpiri', Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.
· 1998 - 'Yulyulu', Alcaston House Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.
· 1999 - St. Valentine's Exhibition, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.
· 1999 - 'Tracks Across the Landscape', Land Rover Showroom, Sydney, Australia.
· 1999 - 'Wild' Warlpiri Woman, Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney, Australia.
· 1999 - 'Yapa', Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Australia.
· The Australian National Gallery acquired some of Lorna’s finest works following the exhibitions .
· Australian Heritage Commission Collection, Canberra.
· Christensen Collections of Victoria.
· Holmes a Court Collection of Western Australia.
· The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
· The Margaret Carnegie Collection.
· The Laverty Collection.
and by a number of fine art galleries and private collectors around Australia and abroad.
· Gold Coast City Art Award
· Included in triennial John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize in 1998