Lily Kelly Napangardi - ROCK HOLES LK1608

Lily Kelly Napangardi Rock Holes Australian Aboriginal Art Painting on canvas LK1608


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Artist: Lily Kelly Napangardi
Skin Name: Napangardi (Napangarti)
Born: c.1948
Region: Mount Liebig
Language: Warlpiri 
Subjects and Themes(Dreaming): Tali (Sand Hills) & Women's Dreamings.



Lily Kelly Napangardi (Napangati) was born in approximately 1948 at Haasts Bluff in Central Australia. Lily Kelly is a Luritja and Warlpiri speaker and a highly distinguished Aboriginal artist. Lily grew up living in the bush until in the

1960's where as a young girl her family moved to the settlement of Papunya, several hours from Alice Springs in Central Australia. As an adult she then later moved to Watiyawanu (Mount Liebig) approximately 3 hours west of Alice Springs.

She is a highly respected senior law woman in her community and the custodian over the Women's Dreaming stories associated with her traditional country around Kunajarrayi (Mount Nicker). Lily began painting in 1986 and worked closely with Papunya Tula Artists for several years. Her paintings are very innovative interpretations of her country. She later then worked closely with Watiyawanu Artists of Yamunturrngu.

In 2006 she was named as one of Australia's 50 most collectable artists by the Australia Art Collector Magazine which further cemented her as one of Australia's most sought after and collectable Aboriginal artists. The Australian Indigenous Art Market has her rated as the 77th most collectable aboriginal artist of all time.

Lily's paintings portray the depiction of the "Tali" (sand hills) located near her homelands. The microscopic dots show the impact of the rain and the wind as it moves across the countryside. This story was passed to her by her father and the sand hills (Tali) are a site of significance for the artist and her family.


  • 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, Darwin
  • 2003 Telstra Awards, Darwin
  • 2003 Neil Murphy Indigenous Art Showing, Mary Place Gallery, Sydney
  • 2003 Graham Marshall Gallery, Sydney
  • 2003 Telstra Awards
  • 2003 Neil Murphy Indigenous Art Span Galleries, Melbourne
  • 2004 Mary Place Gallery, Sydney
  • 2004 Graham Marshall Gallery, Adelaide


  • National Gallery of Queensland, Brisbane
  • The Kerry Stokes Collection
  • The 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 Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA
  • Thomas Vroom Collection, Amsterdam


  • 1986 Winner of the Northern Territory Art Award
  • 2003 Finalist NATSIAA

SOURCE: Birnberg, M & Kreczmanski, JB 2004, Aboriginal artists dictionary of biographies: Western Desert, Central Desert and Kimberley Region, 1st edn., JB Publishing, Marleston.

This stunning artwork depicts sand hills around Watiyawanu, the artists country in Central Australia. Illustrated through fine dots and subtle dashes, it conveys the moving force of wind and rain that has effect upon the sand hills and its surroundings. The design represents an almost three-dimensional illusion of space and depth.


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