Lorna Jin-gubarrangunyja was born in 1952. She is a Burarra fibre artist, living at Yilan outstation, who has been regularly producing artworks for Maningrida Arts and Culture since the 1980s. She was often making colourful twined pandanus dilly bags, mats, string bags and baby shade covers. In 1995, she participated in a landmarks touring fibre exhibition Maningirda: the language of weaving which featured two fish traps by Burarra male artist Raymond Walabirr (now deceased). This exhibition aimed at repositioning fibre production into the fine art category. It succeeded at some levels but it failed in changing the overall perception of fibre art by the general public or commercial galleries. For example, no one offered to do a commercial fibre show dedicated to the production of mats or baskets after this major exhibition. In 2002, Jin-gubarrangunyja made her first fish trap, learning this technique from her husband George Ganyjibala, as traditionally men were making fish traps. She now uses fish trap forms as the basis for sculptural works of art. Jin-gubarrangunyja innovates with forms and colours, using diverse weaving techniques to make sculptures that have their origin in the traditional fish trap techniques. The utilitarian purpose of the fish trap is no longer the main focus of her production. She re-explores traditional techniques to create contemporary and innovative works of art and works with diverse fibre such as pandanus (pandanus spiralis) that she dyes with natural colors, jungle vine (Malaisia scandens) and grass (cyperus javanicus).
A year after her first attempt at making a fish trap, in 2003, Jin-gubarrangunyja won the Wandjuk Marika Award at the 20th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA) with a colourful pandanus fish trap. She is now recognised as a leading fibre artist and participates regularly in group exhibitions in commercial galleries. Interestingly enough, her fish trap production has generated an interest in her dilly bags that are now exhibited along with her fish trap forms. Through innovation and working on a bigger scale, Jin-gubarrangunyja has established herself as a successful fibre artist, gaining public recognition for her work and a financial income comparable with artists working in other media. She has also inspired other Maningrida artists to make fish traps. Now, more than 20 artists make fish trap forms on a regular basis, including three men who have switched from painting to fibre production in the last two years as they have realised that they were more succesful fibre artists than painters.
2016 NAISDA 40th Anniversary Auction, Auction night at Carriageworks, Sydney