Artist Profile

L. Yukenbarrai


Near Kiwirrkurra





Lucy is a respected senior custodian with a vast knowledge of the waterholes in the Great Sandy Desert.  She began painting in 1989.  Lucy’s early works followed standard Balgo methods of forming lines by means of rows of dotting and of outlining icons in a similar way.  A quietly creative artist, she then moved to another technique using single colour fields of dotting, later going on to a next step of painting her dots so closely together that they converged, creating dense masses of pigment on the surface of the canvas.  This, together with her exploration of the visual possibilities of black icons for waterholes and soakwaters and of dark green and blue, gave her work a distinctive style, producing effects unique in desert Aboriginal art.  As a result, her work became sought after in the marketplace.

Today, Lucy works diligently at her paintings that are boldly covered in thick paint.  She concentrates on painting the soaks and rock holes of her country, also the numerous types of bush food including Kantilli (bush raisins) and Pura (bush tomato).

Lucy laughs as she describes herself as a “wild one” in her youth, running away from ceremonial business into the bush.  There is also the story of the long walk in from the desert to the mission when they would stop at the wells along the track to pump for water.  Once at the mission, she helped make the bread and later began painting.  She has travelled extensively with her painting (Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Darwin, Kununurra), however prefers to stay in Balgo with her family.  Lucy holds many ceremonial responsibilities in the keeping of traditional law.



2013 Traversing Borders: Art from the Kimberley, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, QLD    

Balgo Survey, Rheinfelden/Baden, Haus Salmegg, Colamon Aboriginal Art Gallery Schopfheim, Germany


Balgo Hills, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne