Lucy Yukenbarrai

Lucy Yukenbarrai laughed as she once described her youthful self as a 'wild one', running into the bush, away from ceremonial business. She also recounted her long walk from the desert and into the mission where she helped to make the bread.  

It was at the mission in 1989 when Lucy began painting. Her early works followed standard Balgo methods of rows of dotting and outlining icons but she moved onto using single colour fields of dotting, and then painted her dots so closely together that they converged, creating dense masses of pigment on the canvas. This, with her waterholes and soakwaters, gave her work has a distinctive style and produced effects unique in desert Aboriginal art. As a result, her work became sought after in the marketplace. Lucy also later concentrated on painting her country's soaks, rock holes and numerous types of bush food including Kantilli (bush raisins) and Pura (bush tomato).

Lucy travelled extensively with her painting but always preferred to stay in Balgo with her family. She was a respected senior custodian who held a vast knowledge of the waterholes in the Great Sandy Desert and held many ceremonial responsibilities in the keeping of traditional law. Sadly, Lucy passed away in 2003.

Courtesy of Warlayirti Artists

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