“In defiance of pastoralist intervention and silencing of culture, (Nyadbi) memorialises the incantation of ritual, avowing her indelible connections to Country and to cultural practices and belief systems interrupted by colonisation.” Judith Ryan
Since 2000, Lena Nyadbi has held six solo exhibitions at Niagara Galleries and in that time has developed an international reputation. After exhibiting alongside seven other Australian Indigenous artists at Musée du Quai Branly, Paris in 2006, a major installation of Nyadbi’s work was installed on the roof of the museum in 2013.
“Lena was born at Warnmarnjooloogoon Lagoon (near Greenvale Station) and grew up in Thildoowam country, also known as Old Lissadell Station. Like other Aboriginal people living in the East Kimberley at this time, Lena was put to work on the station at an early age under conditions akin to indentured labour. Here she worked a wide range of jobs including mustering cattle, milking the cows and general station duties. Lena moved to the new Lissadell Station when it was relocated due to the development of Lake Argyle, and is brimming with memories from this period of dispossession when the water began to cover her Country.
Lena paints two principal Dreamings: Jimbirla and Dayiwool Lirlmim. Jimbirla are the sharp quartz-like stones used by Gija people in the past to make spear tips. These are found in abundance in Nyadbi’s father’s country, which lies to the north of Warmun. Dayiwool Lirlmim are the scales that scraped off the Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) barramundi as she jumped through a range of hills escaping from the spinifex nets of women who were trying to catch her. The gap her body made in the rock is the current site of the Argyle Diamond Mine and the diamonds are her scales. Lena paints, what she describes as, her ‘poor bugger country’ on canvas while mining physically renders what were once mountains into plains.” - Courtesy of Warmun Art Centre
Gimmenbayn cave (189/12), 2012
natural ochre and pigments on linen
90 x 120cm
Jimbirla Ngarrangkarni (Spearhead Dreaming WAC026/10), 2010
natural ochre on canvas
60 x 80cm