Lily Kelly Napangardi
Lily Kelly Napangardi is a highly esteemed artist recognized for her contribution to contemporary aboriginal artwork. With a talent for intricate detail, Lily has captivated audiences with her interpretations of the shifting seasons and changing country.
Lily was born circa 1948 in Haasts Bluff of the Northern Territory. In the 1960’s Lily and her husband, Norman Kelly moved to the Papunya settlement where the influential art scene was burgeoning. Lily had a fine introduction into painting by assisting with her husband’s art works. Lily acquired an acute understanding of style and technique as a result.
In the early 1980’s Lily and her family moved back to the Mt Liebig area where she began producing artwork in her own right. Initially starting with minimal representations of sand hills, Lily Kelly persevered with her technique creating a style truly reflective of her connection with her land and the environment.
Lily centres much of her work on the environment, particularly the seasonal changes, the drifting country, the wind swept desert and the environment after it has rained. Using predominantly white dots, sometimes red, on a black background Lily creates a swirling illusion of depth and space bordering on the three dimensional. The incredible sense of movement evoked through her intricately detailed dot work is mesmerising.
As well as her outstanding artistic abilities, Lily is also within her Watiyawanu community a respected senior law woman. Often represented in her work is the Kunajarrayi, a sacred dreaming for women. Lily teaches the songs and dances of the Kunajarrayi to the younger women in her community.
Lily’s achievements only further her standing as an esteemed artist. In 1986 Lily won the Northern Territory Art Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Painting, in 2003 was a finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award and in 2006 was named one of the Australia’s top 50 most collectible artists. Lily Kelly Napangardi is an influential artist continuing to inspire, captivate and tell her story to the world.