LENA NYABDI (c. 1936)
Lena was born around 1936 near near Warnmarnjulugun lagoon, Western Australia. Her father and mother died when she was young, so she was raised by her older sister, Goody Barrett, on Lissadell Station. Nyadbi was as an indentured labourer on cattle stations in the region and learned how to milk cows, muster cattle and to ride unbroken horses. In 1968 the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission ruled that indigenous cattle station workers would be paid the same as their non-indigenous counterparts, Nyadbi along with many Gija people were forced to relocate to the Warmun Community. In the 1970s the Warmun Art Movement was formed, and it during this time that Nyadbi lived amongst artists such as Hector Jandany, Queenie McKenzie,Rover Thomas.
In 1998, the same year the Warmun Art Centre opened its doors, Nyadbi began painting full-time. Nyadbi had spent many years watching and learning from the other artists in Warmun, and her mentor, Paddy Jaminji, taught her the time-honoured techniques of
grinding ochre and charcoal, and using her hands to place the charcoal onto a canvas.
Nyadbi typically paints two dreaming stories (ngarranggarni in the Gija language); the Jimbirlam Ngarranggarni (Spearhead Dreaming) and Dayiwul Lirlmim Ngarranggarni (Barramundi Scales Dreaming). Her Jimbirlam Ngarranggarni pieces tell the story of the country of her father to the north and east of the Warmun Community on the Doon Doon side of the Great Northern Highway, whilst her Dayiwul Lirlmim Ngarranggarni works tell the story of the land of her mother, the Dayiwul Country which is the location of the Argyle Diamond Mine.
Lena Nyabi is a member of the Warmum community.