Lucky Morton Kngwarreye Ngwarai was born c. 1950. She is of the Anmatjerra tribe from the Utopia region north-east of Alice Springs, Northern Territory. She is a member of one of the most famous painting families and associates in Australia the Utopian artists are in the forefront of Australian Aboriginal artists, the most famous being the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Along with her contemporaries, Lucky takes her place as an innovative and immensely talented painter.
As a young girl, Lucky attended a bush school near Hatcher’s Creek north-east of her homelands of Utopia and lived in the country of the MacDonnell Downs Station at the Kurrajong Camp. She attended Bachelor Collect in Alice Springs, and furthered her educated in Darwin.
She began her career in earnest around 1977, participating in group exhibitions with her art, having made the same transition as many of the Utopian artists from batik work. Her early paintings were vividly bright and colourful as she depicted her Traditional stories of women’s body paint, Tharrkarr (honey grevillea) and many desert flowers (Alpeyt) as well as the popular Honey Ant Dreaming (Yerrramp). Lucky paints what she describes as Two Countries, representative of the regions in which she was born and has lived – Ngkwarlerlanem and Arnkawenyerr. Her recent paintings show a new direction with beautifully fine and intricate overlay of subtle understated colour images. These paintings are a version of the Rainbow Dreaming Boor-la-da. The works are fiercely individual and aesthetically pleasing, well received by a wide audience.
Lucky has an impressive profile of exhibitions and collections. She has exhibited with the best of the Utopian artists world-wide, including her mother the renowned artist Mary Morton Kemarre.
Selected Group Exhibitions
Utopia Women’s Paintings. The First Works on Canvas. A Summer Project, 1988-89, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney
Utopia – A Picture Story, Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide; The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin; Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick
Balance 1990: Views, Visions, Influences, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
8th National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
Australian Perspective, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Painting from Utopia and Balgo Hills, Aboriginal Art Galerie Bähr, Speyer, Germany
International Tour, Art Direct Gallery.com, Litsey & Kearney
Artists of Utopia: Then and Now, Outback Alive, Canberra
Desert Hues, The Gallery, Canberra
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Perth