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Lucy Yukenbarri


Lucy Yukenbarri was amongst the last generation of the desert people who moved into the mission at Balgo Hills, at the western extremity of the Tanami Desert, to have undergone full initiation and live a traditional nomadic life in the bush before encountering European colonists. From the outset, her innovative and daring paintings were distinguished by fields of intense colour with a thick, painterly texture. Her brushwork imparted a linear appearance, yet the bands of colour were actually created by merging dots in a way that she referred to as â??kinti kintiâ?? (close, close).

As they dried quickly in the intense heat, they created a chromatic density that had no time for gentle gradations or blended hues. The result is a rich immediacy of contrast and resonance. This work depicts a central rock hole in the Great Sandy Desert. It is surrounded by sand dunes, rich in bush food, particularly Pura, a wild bush tomato. Lucy Yukenbarri was a senior law woman with an irreplaceable knowledge of the ancient places, ceremonies, and narratives.

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Aboriginal Art (991)