Lily Hargraves Nungarrayi Chilla Well NT, Australia, 1930-2018


Lily Hargraves Nungarrayi (c.1930-2018) was one of the old Warlpiri Desert walkers, born in the Tanami Desert in her country near Jilla or Chilla Well in the Northern Territory, Australia. She was a senior law woman, highly respected in Lajamanu. For many years she taught children Warlpiri language and culture in the school bilingual education program. She loved to paint and loved her culture.


Lily was driven to record and preserve cultural knowledge and traditions, knowing she was fighting against the power of time and the new impeding culture. She loved colour and expression, and in her later years her style changed slightly showing more freedom, while years of experience with brushes show skilled execution and technique. Lily produced some truly stunning work with heavy bold confident brush work while manipulating a broad range of colour. This artist's depth of character and life experience is reflected in her work. Lily was also known as Maggie Jurrah/Hargraves. Towards the end she preferred to be known as Lily Jurrah.


Lily's paintings are held in a number of major collections, and she has been widely exhibited both in Australia and overseas, including France, Brazil and the USA. In 2009 and 2014 she was a finalist, highly commended in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.