Karen Napaljarri Barnes

Karen Napaljarri Barnes

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DOB: 1992
Born: Lajamanu, NT

Karen Napaljarri Barnes is part of the exciting next generation of artists to emerge from Warlukurlangu, an Aboriginal owned and governed Art Centre, located 290km North West from Alice Springs along the Tanami Highway. Karen moved to Yuendumu once completing school in Lajamanu and started painting for Warlukurlangu in 2001. When Karen first started painting, she would sit every day next to her grandmother, esteemed artist Judy Napangardi Watson who would not only encourage her to paint but teach her all the important cultural stories and traditions.

Karen paints the dreaming stories handed down to her by her family for generations, stories which come from Mina Mina, country west of Yuendumu of which her family are the custodians. For Karen, painting retains a closeness with these stories and her family, particularly her grandmother.

In recent years, Karen has caught the attention of the Australian art scene with her depictions of Budgerigar Dreaming (Ngatijirri Jukurrpa). Karen uses a more realistic depiction of the birds and a very abstract representation of the landscape, favouring bold and contrasting colours. Whilst her compositions may appear simplistic, her quizzical critters are works of great charm and presence. Karen's distinctive style extends an existing Warlukurlangu reputation for innovative colour, of which her grandmother was one of the founding trailblazers.

Karen has extended her repertoire and has taken great delight in depicting the animals that live around Yuendumu. Each critter is simply bursting with character and expression, making her work incredibly appealing and memorable.

We look forward to what the future holds for Karen.


  • Fondation Burkhardt-Felder Arts et Culture, Moitiers, Switzerland


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021 A Cacophony of Colour 2021: A Karen Napaljarri Barnes solo exhibition, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 A Cacophony of Colour 2020: A Karen Napaljarri Barnes solo exhibition, Art Mob, Hobart
2019 Quizzical Critters | Karen Napaljarri Barnes, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 A Cacophony of colour, A Karen Napaljarri Barnes solo exhibition, Art Mob, Hobart
2018 Karen Napaljarri Barnes 'Budgerigar Dreaming' Online Exhibition, Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Desert Mob 30, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
2021 Aboriginal Art Exhibition - From the Desert to the Sea, Gallery One, Southport, QLD
2021 Top 20 2021, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Across the Top 2020, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Dorothy's Daughters and Friends, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Top 20 Exhibition, Art Mob, Hobart
2019 Across the Top, Art Mob, Hobart
2019 Songlines XXXI: Wing, Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, London
2019 The Children of the Warlpiri, Art Mob, Hobart
2019 Top 20 from 2018, Art Mob, Hobart
2019 The Women's Show, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
2018 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
2018 Across the Top, Art Mob, Hobart
2018 Top 20 from 2017, Art Mob, Hobart
2017 Top 20 from 2016, Art Mob, Hobart
2010 Exposition d'art aborigene d'Australie, IDAIA and Galerie Princesse de Kiev, France
2010 Warlukurlangu Artists @ Grassi, Leipzig, Germany
2010 Artitja Fine Art Exhibition, Perth
2010 Walukurlangu Artists Tour - ARTKELCH, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Leipzig, Freiburg, Germany
2010 30 under 30, Mossenson Gallery, Melbourne
2010 Jukurrpa - Our Story. National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Tandanya, Adelaide
2010 Youth of Yuendumu, Benalla Art Gallery, Benalla
2009 Palya Art at Gallows Gallery, Gallows Gallery, Perth
2009 Warlukurlangu Survey Show, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2009 Desert Dreamings, Open Palm Court Gallery, New Delhi, India
2008 Yuendumu, Emerging Artists, Better World Arts, Port Adelaide
2008 Warkukurlangu Artists, Established & Emerging Artists, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
2008 Opening Doors into Colourful Dreamtime, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2008 The Women's Show, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2007 Stocking, Artereal, Sydney
2007 Australian Aboriginal Artists from the Central Desert, Jeffrey Moose Gallery, Seattle WA, USA
2007 Bush Tucker, Artereal, Sydney
2007 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
2007 Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Shalom College, Sydney
2007 Vivid Visions, Warlpiri women from Yuendumu and yonder, Cooe Aboriginal Art, Sydney
2007 The Women's Show, Vivienne Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
2006 Christmas Show, Northern Territory & Outback Centre, Sydney
2006 Warlpiri Artists of Yuendumu, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2006 Journey to Mina Mina, Gallery Gondwana, Sydney
2006 Warlukurlangu Artists, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2006 Warlukurlangu Artists, Mason Gallery, Darwin
2006 Desert Mob, Aralauen Art & Cultural Centre, Alice Springs
2006 Senior Women's Work, Gadfly Gallery, Perth
2006 Recent Works from Yuendumu, Suzanne O'Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2006 Paintings from the Fire Country, Birrung Gallery, Sydney
2006 Artists of Yuendumu, Australia's Outback Gallery, NT & Outback Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney