Lena Yarinkura

Lena  Yarinkura

Biography

“No one taught me to use pandanus to make my animals. I have been teaching myself I create new ways all the time.  They are only my ideas…I pass my ideas on to my children and my grandchildren. It is important that I teach them, because one day I will be gone, and they will take my place.”

– Lena Yarinkura, 2012

Lena Yarinkura is renowned for her ambitious and highly distinctive pandanus and paperbark fibre sculptures. Yarinkura diverged from the more conventional fibre work of her contemporaries to become one of the first Arnhem Land women to work with fibre in a sculptural way.

Yarinkura has developed her method using pandanus in much the same process as a dilly bag or fish trap might be made: beginning by creating a closed end, much like the base of a dilly bag. When making her noted Yawkyawk spirit form,  Yarinkura works up and out to gently expand the woven structure to fashion a bulbous torso before narrowing the weave at the torso’s base or hips to create a flat two layered section representing the tail fins.  The ochre pigment applied to the textured weave of the pandanus fibre, suggest the scales of the water spirits and the shimmering quality to their skin.

Yarinkura ‘embraces divergence and invention, and allows for intuition and spontaneity in her process’.[1]   

[1] Diane Moon, ‘Lena Yarinkura: “weaving, it can make you happy”’, in Diane Moon (ed.), Floating Life: Contemporary Aboriginal Fibre Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2009, p.134.”

Lena Yarinkura Ngalyod (Rainbow Serpent) (2016) Image credit: Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney, Australia)

Resources

The Significance of Fibre Art: People, Place and Environment

By Alyson Megan de Groot

Culture Production Rembarrnga Way: Innovation and Tradition in Lena Yarinkura’s and Bob Burruwal’s Metal Sculptures
By Christiane Keller

Languages

Kune

From

Buluhkarduru

Community

Maningrida : NT

Moiety

Yirridjdja

Date of birth

1960-12-31

Clan

Bununggu

Artwork media

Ceremony, Beach Hibiscus (Hibiscus Tiliaceus) with Ochre Pigment and PVA Fixative, Stringybark (Eucalyptus Tetradonta) with Ochre Pigment and PVA Fixative, Kurrajong (Brachychiton Diversifolius) with Ochre Pigment, PVA Fixative, Bush Wax and Feathers, Coiled Pandanus (Pandanus Spiralis), Twined Pandanus (Pandanus Spiralis)

Artwork themes

Past Exhibitions

Group

  • 2016
    33rd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
  • 2016
    Marking the Infinite, Nevada Museum of Art, Ongoing touring exhibition of female Aboriginal Australian artists
  • 2014
    Four Spirits from Maningrida, FireWorks Galler, Brisbane, QLD
  • 2014
    Maningrida, Paul Johnstone Gallery, Darwin, NT
  • 2012
    Stock Jewels, Annandale Galleries, Sydney, Australia
  • 2012
    New Work from Maningrida, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2012
    unDisclosed: 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT
  • 2011
    The Dreaming Changes Shape, Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2010
    27th Telstra National & Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • 2010
    Gungamuk - Bob Burruwal & Lena Yarinkura, Sheahan Galleries, Sydney, NSW
  • 2010
    Best of Maningrida, Annandale Galleries, Sydney, Australia
  • 2010
    Togart Contemporary Art Exhibition, Chan Contemporary Arts Space, Darwin, Australia
  • 2010
    Eclectica 2, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
  • 2010
    Soft Sculpture, Framed Gallery, Darwin, Australia
  • 2009
    Togart Contemporary Art Award, The Toga Group, NT
  • 2009
    Maningrida Group Show, Sheahan Galleries, Sydney, NSW
  • 2009
    Spirit Beings and Ceremonial Lorrkon, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2009
    Survey from Maningrida Arts & Culture, The Mossenson Gallery, Perth, WA
  • 2009
    Works in Season: Bark Paintings, Carvings & Weavings, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney, NSW
  • 2009
    Orche - A Study in Materiality, Short Street Gallery, Broome, WA
  • 2009
    Menagerie, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2009
    Mythic Creatures - Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, NSW
  • 2009
    Starry, Starry Night, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT
  • 2009
    Menagerie, Object Gallery & Australian Musuem, Sydney, NSW
  • 2008
    Palya Art at Mary Place, Mary Place, Sydney, NSW
  • 2008
    Womens Show, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2008
    Weaving around the Traps, Chapman & Bailey, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2008
    Maningrida Survey Show, Short Street Gallery, Broome, WA
  • 2008
    Interwoven, Indigenart, Perth, WA
  • 2008
    Maningrida Arts, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney, NSW
  • 2007
    24th Telstra National & Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
  • 2007
    Lorrkon, Spirit Beings, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2007
    Aboriginal Objects, Sculpture & Bush Toys, Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney
  • 2007
    Journeys, Outback Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2005
    22nd National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Arts Awards, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
  • 2004
    Maningrida Fibre Art, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London, UK
  • 2004
    Fibre and sculptures, Indigenart, Fremantle, WA
  • 2004
    Divas of the desert: Maningrida, Minymaku, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
  • 2004
    Contexture, Framed gallery, Darwin, NT
  • 2004
    Maningrida Fibre, Bandigan art, Sydney, NSW
  • 2004
    Australian Culture Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • 2004
    Bob Burruwal & Lena Yarinkura, Annandale Galleries, Sydney, NSW
  • 2004
    21st Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Museum & Art Gallery of Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
  • 2003
    Threads of Time, Burrinja gallery, Upwey, VIC
  • 2003
    An Exhibition of Rembarrnga Artists, Short Street Gallery, Broome, WA
  • 2003
    The Visit, Annandale galleries, Sydney, NSW
  • 2003
    Organic Forms in Fibre, Aboriginal and Pacific Arts, Sydney, NSW
  • 2003
    Weave, NTU Gallery, Darwin, NT
  • 2003
    Dreamtime, Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Cankarjev Dom Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 2003
    Maningrida Threads, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW
  • 2003
    Organic Forms in Fibre, Aboriginal and Pacific Arts, Sydney, NSW
  • 2003
    Artists in Residence Exhibition, Coomalie Cultural Centre, NT
  • 2003
    Bark paintings, sculpture and fibre work by the Maningrida women artists, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2002
    Transition & Resilience, Jam Factory, SA
  • 2002
    Frisson, 14th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennal, Manly, NSW
  • 2002
    19th Telstra National & Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • 2002
    The Colour and the Shape, Thornquest Gallery, Qld
  • 2002
    Paper & String, Redcliffe City Art Gallery, Qld
  • 2002
    Spirit of Arnhemland, Redback Art Gallery, Qld
  • 2002
    Inspiral, Gallery Gondawana, Alice Springs, NT
  • 2002
    Fibre: An Exhibition of Woven Art, Raft artspace, Darwin, NT
  • 2002
    Barks in the Spotlight, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 2002
    Wild nature in contemporary Australian Art and Craft, Jam Factory, Adelaide, SA
  • 2001
    Weaving in 3 dimensions, Aboriginal & Pacific Arts, Sydney, NSW
  • 2001
    Vital Fluids, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra, ACT
  • 2001
    Yvonne Koolmatrie and Lena Yarinkura, Aboriginal & Pacific Arts, Sydney, NSW
  • 2001
    National Sculpture Prize, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT
  • 2001
    Out of the Mould: An exhibition of first works in bronze and aluminium, Gallery Pizzi, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2000
    Transitions: 17 years of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin; touring nationwide: Tandanya, Adelaide, SA; Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, ACT
  • 2000
    14th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial: Frisson, City Gallery, nationwide touring exhibition
  • 2000
    Biennale Of Sydney 2000, Biennale Of Sydney, various venues at various location, NSW
  • 1999
    The Art of Fibre Spiral, Arm Gallery, Canberra, ACT
  • 1999
    Spinifex Runner : a collection of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fibre art., Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery, Campbelltown, NSW; touring regional centres
  • 1999
    My Country: Australische Aboriginal Kunst, Brandweer Kazerne, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 1999
    Contemporary Australian Craft, Japanese touring exhibition organised in conjunction with the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; touring to Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Sapporo; Takaoka Art Museum, Takaoka; The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga, Otsu, Japan
  • 1998
    A Material Thing: Objects from the Collection, Art Gallery NSW, Sydney, NSW
  • 1998
    Maningrida Weavings, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT
  • 1998
    Spirits of the Dreaming Jarraman Arts Aboriginal Corporation,, National Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Sydney, NSW
  • 1998
    Pandanus and Paperbark, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, VIC
  • 1997
    14th Telstra National Aboriginal and Tores Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
  • 1996
    Contemporary Territory, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
  • 1996
    Dreaming: Aboriginal Art from Australia, Galerie Kouwenhoven, Delft, Netherlands
  • 1996
    The Language of Place, Framed, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT
  • 1995
    Maningrida:The Language of Weaving, A.E.T.A Touring Exhibition throughout Australia and New Zealand
  • 1995
    National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Art Award and Exhibition, Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT
  • 1994
    The Eleventh National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
  • 1991
    Sea People, National Maritime Museum, Sydney, NSW
  • 1991
    Aboriginal Womens Exhibition, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, NSW
  • 1990
    Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1990 From Australia, Australia Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, Scotland; toured to Swansea and Manchester, UK
  • 1989
    The Sixth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
  • 1987
    Karnta Womens Exhibition, Touring Nationally and South-east Asia

Collections

  • Helen Read Collection, Darwin, Australia
  • Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
  • Aimee Proost Private Collection, Queensland, Australia
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia
  • Djomi Museum, Maningrida, Australia
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Maningrida Collection, Sydney, Australia
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
  • National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia
  • Walonia Aboriginal Art, The Netherlands
  • The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, California, USA
  • Museum D'Histoire Naturelle de Lyon, France
  • Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia