Year of Birth: c.1948 Birth Place:Bluff, Northern Territory Region: Papunya Language: Warlpiri Skin Name: Napangardi (Napangarti)
Born at Haast Bluff around 1948, Lilly Kelly Napangardi lived at the newly established settlement of Papunya for much of her early life until she relocated to Mt Liebig with her husband in the early 1980's. At Papunya, She was noted for the assistance she gave to her husband, the painter Norman Kelly. She began painting for Papunya Tula artists independently in the 1980's.
Lilly Kelly Napangardi holds authority over the "Women Dreaming" story associated with Kunajarrayi. As a respected senior law woman of the community, she also imparts knowledge of traditional songs and dancing to the younger generation. Her subjects include her country's sand hills, its winds and the desert environment after rain, especially the sandhills of the Kintore and Connistan areas. Her paintings often note the seasonal changes in this sandy landscape, and the crucial waterholes found in the rocks in the area. In this mysterious and elemental landscape, the features, such as rock holes and even mountain ranges, seem to appear and disappear with the changing winds and blowing sands. Water marks this land, as the run-off from the rains makes a pattern of lines and striations down the surface of the sand hills. Napangardi notes the finest microcosmic details but embeds these into a macrocosmic view of the landscape. The ephemeral nature of this drifting, changing country is Lily Kelly Napangardi's key subject, and the viewer, walking in front of her painting, can sense something of the immersive experience of her country.
In 2006, Lily Kelly was voted of one of the top 50 most collectible artists in Australia by Art Collector Magazine.