aboriginal artist: Lilly Kelly Napangardi

Lilly Kelly Napangardi was born circa 1948 in the Haast Bluff region of the Northern Territory. She lived at the newly established settlement of Papunya for much of her early life, relocating to Mt Liebig with her husband in the early 1980’s. Born around 1948, Lilly Kelly Napangardi is from Mount Liebig, and is a senior law woman of the Watiyawanu community, Haasts Bluff. Lilly moved to Papunya in the 1960’s, and was later noted for the assistance she gave to her husband, the painter Norman Kelly. She began painting in the 1980’s.
Lilly Kelly Napangardi hypnotic ‘Sand Hills’ paintings are made up of fine dots and dashes, their muted tones building up a mysterious, hidden topography of her land. Lilly holds authority over the “Women Dreaming ” story associated with Kunajarrayi. Throughout this time Lilly assisted her husband Norman Kelly with his paintings, becoming an artist in her own right in 1986 when she began painting for Papunya Tula artists.
Lilly depicts stories from the Haasts Bluff and Kunajarrayi region, her traditional country, for the Watiyawanu Art Centre. Lilly is a respected senior law woman of the community imparting knowledge of traditional songs and dancing to the younger generation. Lilly portrays commanding innovative interpretations of her traditional country. Her most recent works are skillful representations of sand hills in their various forms. Lilly’s works are in high demand and are represented in major private and public collections throughout the world.
She is a senior law woman of the Watiyawanu community, in the Haasts Bluff area of the Northern Territory, 325 kilometers north-west of Alice Springs. She holds authority over the Women’s Dreaming story associated with Kunajarrayi, and is now teaching younger women traditional dancing and singing. Her subjects include her country’s sand hills, its winds and the desert environment after rain, especially the sandhills of the Kintore and Connistan areas. Her paintings often note the seasonal changes in this sandy landscape, and the crucial waterholes found in the rocks in the area. In this mysterious and elemental landscape, the features, such as rock holes and even mountain ranges, seem to appear and disappear with the changing winds and blowing sands. Water marks this land, as the run-off from the rains makes a pattern of lines and striations down the surface of the sand hills. Napangardi notes the finest microcosmic details but embeds these into a macrocosmic view of the landscape. The ephemeral nature of this drifting, changing country is Lily Kelly Napangardi’s key subject, and the viewer, walking in front of her painting, can sense something of the immersive experience of her country.
Selected Exhibitions:
1999 Desert Mob Show, Alice Springs
2000 Graham Marshall Gallery, Adelaide
2001 Desert Mob Show, Alice Springs;
2002 Desert Mob Show, Alice Springs.
2002 Telstra Awards;
2003 Telstra Awards
2003 Neil Murphy Indigenous Art showing at Mary Place Gallery, Sydney
2003 Graham Marshall Gallery, Adelaide;
2003 Telstra Awards; 2003 Neil Murphy Indigenous Art Span Galleries, Melbourne;
2003 Desert Mob Show, Alice Springs;
2004 Neil Murphy Indigenous Art showing at Span Galleries, Melbourne,
2004 Mary Place Gallery, Sydney;
2004 Graham Marshall Gallery, Adelaide;
2005 Japingka Art, Fremantle, W.A.
2006 Tony Bond Gallery, Adelaide
2006 Knud Grothe Gallery, Copenhagen Denmark (Lilly was artist in residence)
2006 Colliding Worlds Tandanya, Adelaide
Awards:
Winner of the Northern Territory Art Award for Excellence in Aboriginal painting in 1986.
Selected for 2002/2003 Telstra Award.
Lilly was named in Australian Art Collector Magazines 50 most collectable
Australian artists in 2006
Collections:
National Gallery of Queensland Brisbane SAND HILLS OF KINTORE AREA 2003 www.qag.qld.gov.au/collection/indigenous_australian_art/lily_kelly_napangardi
The Kerry Stokes Collection, Australia;
National Gallery of Australia Canberra;
Art Gallery of New South Wales – Sydney;
Art Gallery of South Australia – Adelaide;
National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne;
Holmes A Court Collection Perth;
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Darwin;
Art bank Sydney;
The Richard Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A,
Santa Monica, USA;
Thomas Vroom Collection, Amsterdam;
James Erskine Collection;
Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art 2003;
Thomas Vroom Collection, Amsterdam;
Aruluen Trust Collection