Lily Kelly Napangardi

Lily Kelly Napangardi

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DOB: c. 1948
Born: Haasts Bluff, NT

Lily Kelly Napangardi was born at Haasts Bluff in the Northern Territory around 1948. Her language is Luritja.

She moved to the newly established settlement of Papunya in the 1960s. During her time in Papunya, Lily engaged in painting activities, notably assisting with works by her husband Norman Kelly.

Lily returned to Mt Liebig with her husband in the early 1980s.

Lily is one of the senior Law Women of the community, imparting traditional knowledge to the next generation by teaching the younger women traditional dancing and singing.

Lily began painting in the early 1980s, winning the Northern Territory Art Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Painting in 1986. Lily's hypnotic 'Sand Hills' paintings are made up of fine dots and dashes, their muted tones building up a mysterious, hidden topography of her land.

These paintings portray the depiction of the "Tali" - sand hills located near her homelands. The microscopic dots show the impact of the rain and the wind as it moves across the countryside. This story was passed to her by her father and the sand hills (Tali) are a site of significance for the artist and her family

Lily is a highly collectable artist with a strong following: she is represented in major national and international collections.


  • Art Bank, Sydney
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
  • Holmes A Court Collection, Perth
  • James Erskine Art Collection, Sydney
  • Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art
  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • National Gallery of Queensland, Brisbane
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, CA, USA
  • The Kerry Stokes Collection, Australia
  • Thomas Vroom Collection, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Pat Corrigan Collection, Sydney
  • Luciano Benetton Collection, Venice

Awards and Recognition

2006 Top 50 Collectable Artists, Australian Art Collector Magazine
2003 20th NATSIAA, Darwin - Winner
2003 Desert Mob, Alice Springs - Finalist
2002 Desert Mob, Alice Springs - Finalist
2002 19th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2001 Desert Mob, Alice Springs - Finalist
1999 Desert Mob, Alice Springs - Finalist
1986 Northern Territory Art Award - Winner


Selected Group Exhibitions:

2021 Private Collection | Private View: One Collector's Passion & Soul, Cooee Art, Redfern
2020 60 by 60 - Small Paintings, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2020 Central Focus, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Pointillism Perfection, Art Mob, Hobart
2019 Summer Show & Art Parade, Salt, Queenscliff, VIC
2019 defining tradition | black + white, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Spring Collection: Exhibition to celebrate our beautiful Spring Collection, Brenda Colahan Fine Art, Sydney
2019 Matches 6 - Group Exhibition - Featuring Barbara Weir, Ian Bettinson, Jack Britten, Lily
Kelly Napangardi, Minnie Pwerle, Tony Tuckson & Yvonne Mills-Stanley, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2010 Desert Country, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
2004 Neil Murphy Indigenous Art showing at Span Galleries, Melbourne
2004 Mary Place Gallery, Sydney
2004 Graham Marshall Gallery, Adelaide
2003 Neil Murphy Indigenous Art showing at Mary Place Gallery, Sydney
2003 Graham Marshall Gallery, Adelaide
2003 Neil Murphy Indigenous Art Span Galleries, Melbourne
2003 Desert Mob Show, Alice Springs
2002 Desert Mob Show, Alice Springs
2001 Desert Mob Show, Alice Springs
2000 Graham Marshall Gallery, Adelaide
1999 Desert Mob Show, Alice Springs