Lorna Ward Napanangka

Lorna Ward Napanangka

Date of Birth: 1961

Region: Papunya

Language: Pintupi

Lorna Ward Napanangka was born in 1961 in Papunya. Lorna is the daughter of the late Timmy Payungka Tjapangati, among the first of the Pintupi people to be relocated to the new settlement at Papunya. Timmy Payungka was a founding member of the Papunya Tula Art Centre and belonged to the first generation of the Papunya Tula Artists collective. Lorna has inherited important tribal knowledge from her father, as he was the main custodian for a significant ceremonial site known as Parrayingi. This area was included in activities during the sacred ceremonies known as “Tingari”. Lorna now lives with her children at Kiwirrkura, 600 km West of Alice Springs, Central Australia.

Lorna began painting in 1996. In 1999 she collaborated with the Kiwirrkura artists to produce a large canvas depicting a site known as Marrapinti. This is the site where nose bones were produced for use during ceremony. The activities that followed included ceremonies at Ngaminya and Wirrulnga where a fruit known as ‘kampurampa’ was collected and prepared for cooking. The completed Kiwirrkura women’s painting was used to raise funds for the Western Desert Dialysis Appeal, and is a piece that raised her profile as a significant figure in indigenous art.

Lorna paints Tingari stories for her ancestral country around Wilkinkara (Lake MacKay). All her paintings depict locations where she lived and visited when she was younger. The content of her works are powerful representations of her knowledge and connection with traditional ancestral tribal laws.

Lorna’s style is extremely varied. Almost none of her compositions resemble the other. Her eccentric gridded maps provided a stark contrast to the early brightly coloured, fluid works of the female painters. Seemingly effortlessly she moves from style to style, from medium to medium, and from colour to colour. Line and dot work mixed together create a balance between the solid and the void. Lorna’s enormous versatility is recognised by collectors worldwide and her willingness to persevere laid the foundations for this new wave, with the Art Gallery of N.S.W acquiring a large-scale work. This piece was published in the book ‘One Sun One Moon’ through the Art Gallery of N.S.W.


This painting depicts the creation events at the rockhole site of Marrapinti, west of Kiwirrkurra, Western Australia. The story, following ancient Aboriginal stories, tells about a group of senior women who camped at this site. They gathered Kampuarra (Bush Raisin), which are ground to make a kind of traditional damper. The site is also associated with nose piercing rituals for the Pintupi women.

The grid design of the painting literally represents a symbolic map of the Western Desert region and each section depicts ancestral activities that were part of the formation of the present day environment.

Lorna has exhibited in Australia and overseas and was a finalist in the 2002 NATSIAA.

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