Wp/nys/Laurel Nannup

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Laurel Nannup' (born 1943) is a Binjareb/Pinjarup Noongar artist, who is a printmaker by trade [1][2][3]. Laurel was born into a gumbar moort at the Carrolup Native Settlement, also known as Marribank, wer raised from infancy on the Pinjarra reserve after barl ngarngk left with barl on a train in secret for Laurel’s protection[1] . Barl ngarngk wer maaman, Renee wer Peter Nannup had fifteen koolangka, with Laurel being the oldest koolang[3][4]. Barl is a member of the Stolen Generation wer was taken from barl moort at mara dumbart, along with barl djook aged marakeny wer placed at the Wandering Mission, a place for kadadjiny wer dormitory run by German Catholic Nuns that was established by the Catholic Archbishop of Boorlo in 1944[4].

Noongar Groups of the Western Australia, 2007, John D Croft

Early Life


Laurel was raised alongside barl gumbar moort. Barl denam, Mrs Tottie (Christine) Hart was very dear to Laurel wer described as a remarkable yorga[3]. A ngort rider as kwoba as any maam, wer a ngarngk to boola koolangka. Mrs Tottie lived until 96 years of age[3]. Laurel had bulariny djirip-djirip memories as a yok, ngardanginy dartj wer djildjit with barl maaman, ngoonee wer djookian living with barl konk Henry wer maam yok Alma, whom Laurel dubbed as Gumbar ngarngk (Big Mum) wer Little gnarngk (little mum) due to them being completely opposite in stature[3]. Laurel would help barl ngarngk wer maaman with work, help maintain their small meriny patch at kaleep wer attended a convent primary school. At school barl would sometimes skip to spend time with friends yarning, djooboorl wer ngarniny oranges from an orchard[3].

Laurel has created boola prints from barl early days in Pinjarra with barl moort. Yarning of barl life, moort wer experiences. Laurel's book, A Story to Tell (2006), displays some of these prints wer photographs of barl wer moort[3].

Wandering Mission


Laurel's deman was sent to Wandering Mission, barl ngarngk Renee Nannup asked Laurel wer djook if they would like to go to Wandering Mission for kadadjiny wer to keep barl company. When the koolangka were boolyaka for the Mission, a big black car pulled up to take them there when the djookian started to walinj wer ngooloor boolyaka moort. Laurel expresses this in barl art Crying our eyes out (2001). Despite this, the djookian were still looking forward to the experience, barl felt winyan wer nyondi kaleep wer moort[3]. The koolangka were separated yok wer maam, they were given numbers so that the Nuns could known who's clothes belonged to which koolang, Laurel's number was maradjen mara dumbart wer barl djook was maradjen mara koodjal koodjal. In A Story to Tell (2006), Laurel states that barl was always unsure as to why barl ngarngk had offered the choice to only barl wer djook but that barl never asked why [3].

Despite the homesickness, Laurel recalls bulariny djiripin wer moorlyan memories from the Mission. Laurel was taught how to dookerniny, clean, sew wer garden along with other skills wer although removed from barl moort, the Nannup djookian were allowed to see maaman wer ngarngk occasionally wer to karla kurliny for the holidays[3]. Barl spent time on the Mission koorliny through boodja picking kalynany off trees on Sundays wer having competitions with the other koolangka as to who could gather the most or dookerniny damper with friends, spending karlawooliny days warming themselves under bada mandoon or laying in fields koondarm[3]. Barl swung from trees by pinjar, on swing sets made by other koolangka, of dressing up in ball gowns for birthdays wer of working the farm wer caring for the animals – including cows which made barl moorlyip [3].

Makura wer Djilba were nyittiny, wer the koolangka were moorlyan nyondir moort[3]. Often, groups of the koolangka would boolyaka the Mission to karla kurliny to their moort. However, they were caught by the Nuns or reported to the Father by farmers that offered the koolangka meriny wer kep. Punishment for boolyaka would come in the form of extra works, groundings wer on occasion a hiding with a strap[3]. Through all of barl experiences, Laurel thanks the Sisters of the Mission in A Story to Tell for caring for the koolangka[3]. Wandering Mission closed fully in 1979 [5].

Later Life


At seventeen, over the Christmas holiday period Laurel received a job offer to work on a dairy farm that was owned by the Jackson moort up on Stake Hill Road[3]. From there, Laurel boolyaka the Mission to be a house in Karlgarin for a Mrs Hinck. Barl stayed at this job for koodja years, then boolyaka to caring for the koolangka of a moort that Laurel described as lovely, with moort of their own now barl still remains in contact with them [3]. Barl djook that was with barl at the Mission boolyaka to Boorloo to attend high school wer went into nursing[3]. Laurel also boolyaka to Boorloo after ending work with the moort to work around Rossmoyne[4]. Laurel worked for a time as a nurse alongside Elizabeth Jean Collard [6]

In 1975 barl gave birth to barl koolang Brett Nannup, barl remained in Rossmoyne to care for barl wer koodja ngoony, John and Charles, barl djook wer their gnarngk gnoytj in a car accident in 1976[4]. Laurel raised the koolangka until they reached an age where they boolyaka karlup in the late 1990’s. After this, Laurel turned to kadadjiny. Barl first enrolled at TAFE in 1995 in mature aged studies, then moved into an Early childhood education and care course in 1997 from which barl won an award for most outstanding student for all of TAFE[7]. Barl wanted to stop part way through but barl had a dream wer in it heard barl dembart say “now you finish something you've started...” wer barl kept koorliny [8] . Barl then enrolled at Curtin University into the mathematics program, however barl switched study streams after seeing information on Noongar enrolment into the Visual Arts[4]. While barl was exposed to a range of different mediums, it was at Curtin University where barl discovered proficiency in printmaking[4]. As Laurel spoke to peers wer other Noongar artists, barl delved into the memories of youth wer used them to produce artwork. Laurel graduated from Curtin University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, wer proceeded directly into honours in 2001[4]. From there barl has completed boola works, which barl works on dabarkan as to be perfect[8].

Laurel's art is now in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Berndt Museum of Anthropology wer the Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art in The Netherlands[9]. Laurel states that when barl passes, barl will be djirip-djirup because bangal will be a legacy of experiences wer accomplishments for moort [8].

Brett Nannup


Brett Nannup followed in barl gnarngk footsteps wer also became a printmaker by trade [7]. A member of the Binjareb/Wilman Noongar, barl work explores the concepts of identity wer being a maam within the modern world[7]. WhileLaurel was studying at TAFE, Brett found the inspiration to leave work wer to kadadjiny just as Laurel had[7]. Brett studied social sciences wer anthropology but barl found passion at the art school. Brett remarks that Laurel helped encourage barl pursuit of kaartdijiin wer would help at karlup on barl works, or go into TAFE to print things off for Brett at school[7]. Laurel encouraged barl koolang to not just focus on one style of art but to explore, barl helped Brett compose barl portfolio[7]. With Brett's own koolang, Lily Wilson, barl continues to pass on the passion for art wer Lily is following in the moort trade of printmaking wer Brett states that barl relationship with Laurel wer their art partnership is one based on honesty, karnany wer helping each other out as much as possible[7].

First Contact

First Contact (2016) at Elizabeth Quay, Artist: Laurel Nannup

Laurel has a sculpture called First Contact (2016), wer it is a polished aluminum piece that stands at 5 meters tall wer is located in Elizabeth Quay, Perth [10]. It was apart of a $4 million art project around the the Elizabeth Quay precinct wer was helped into creation by an arts organization by the name of Form, a Not-for-profit that coordinated the work as part of their Land.Mark.Art scheme with the aid of Urban Art Projects, a Brisbane-based company [11]. The scheme was designed to help local Noongar artists gain attention wer revenue by turning 2D prints wer works into large commission pieces wer as of now has helped complete 30 pieces in Western Australia[11]. The piece was funded as one of mara mara art projects sponsored by Percent for Art Scheme to help in bringing interest wer opportunities to artists[10]. Nyininy in the South-West of the precinct, the sculpture tells a yarn of the Noongar peoples first sighting of European invaders[8]. Djinganginy Bo as the boats arrived, the Noongar would have believed that they were motogon coming from the wardan to boodja, the ship a gumbar jirda barongoolat them karlup[11]. Shaped like a ngarkal, this jirda is believed to carry the noyt of motogon across the wardan wer the ships with their white sails would have appeared as such by the Noongar people djinanginy bo[11]. The project was based upon a piece that was completed by Nannup in 2006 as part of an art collaboration with mara koodjal other artists to commemorate 400 years since first contact with the Dutch vessel the Duyfken (Little Dove) in 1606 at Cape York[11].



  • Contemporary Experience: Political Expression. CN Gorman Museum, University of California, Davis. Davis, California, USA. (March 29/2016 – June 03/2016)[18]
  • Resistance. Art Gallery of Western Australia. Perth, Australia. (November 07/2015 – February 21/2016)[18]
  • Post-Hybrid: Reimagining the Australian Self. The John Curtin Gallery. Bentley, Australia. (June 05/2015 – September 06/2015)[19]
  • City of Fremantle Art Collection: Girt by Sea. Fremantle Arts Centre. Fremantle, Australia. (November 22/2014 – January 29/2015)[20]
  • Boodja (Country): Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (2005)
  • Nyungar: Moores Building Fremantle (2003)
  • Shell Print Awards: Fremantle Arts Centre (2002)

Ngiyan waarnk


This article initially included some content from Wikipedia:Laurel Nannup.

  1. 1.0 1.1 National Museum of Australia. (2017, May 8). Stories of Childhood [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=At2fPTaLGdY
  2. Gnaala Karla Booja Regional Development Coordinator. (n.d.). About the Gnaala Karla Booja Region. Kaartdijin Noongar – Noongara Knowledge. https://www.noongarculture.org.au/gnaala-karla-booja/
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 Nannup, L. (2012). A Story to Tell (2nd ed.). UWA Publishing Crawley, Western Australia.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Allas, T. (2009). Laurel Nannup b. 1953. Design and Art Australia Online. https://www.daao.org.au/bio/laurel-nannup/biography/
  5. Find and Connect. (2019, July). Wandering Mission (1944 – 1979). Find & Connect, History & Information about Australian Orphanages, children’s homes and other institutions.  https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00229
  6. Prof. Collard, L. (October 27,2020) Oral Interview. UWA, WA.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 John Curtin Gallery. (2019, June 4). Laurel and Brett Nannup Interview [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a33AgvnhhY
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 City of Perth. (2020, May 5). A Legacy by Design, Laurel Nannup. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg1OgjvdMlw
  9. Design & Art Australia Online. (2015). Laurel Nannup b 194. From https://www.daao.org.au/bio/laurel-nannup/
  10. 10.0 10.1 Bevis, S. (2015, December 16). Giant bird comes home to roost. The West Australian. https://thewest.com.au/news/australia/giant-bird-comes-home-to-roost-at-quay-ng-ya-134070
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Hamlyn, C. (2016, August 13). Indigenous artists offered helping hand to turn traditional works into large scale public art. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-13/laurel-nannup-among-aboriginal-artists-joining-public-art-arena/7722108
  12. Panacea. (2020). Fremantle Arts Centre. https://www.fac.org.au/whats-on/post/panacea/
  13. AGWA after-hours. (2019). Art Gallery WA. https://artgallery.wa.gov.au/whats-on/events/agwa-after-hours-first-encounters-depictions-pre-colonial-western-australia
  14. Safe Harbour. (2019). Fremantle Arts Centre. https://www.fac.org.au/whats-on/post/safe-harbour/
  15. Directors Cut. (2018). John Curtin Gallery.https://jcg.curtin.edu.au/directors-cut/
  16. Ngurrambaa. (2018). Murray Art Museum Albany.https://www.mamalbury.com.au/see-and-do/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/ngurrambaa
  17. https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/30377184/first-contact-noongar-artwork-home-to-roost-at-elizabeth-quay/
  18. 18.0 18.1 Laurel Nannup - Exhibitions. (n.d.). MutualArt. Found at https://www.mutualart.com/Artist/Laurel-Nannup/A870216CCA31F3B4/Exhibitions.
  19. Post-hybrid: Reimagining the Australian Self. (2015). John Curtin University. https://news.curtin.edu.au/media-releases/post-hybrid-reimagining-the-australian-self/
  20. Girt by Sea. (2015). Fremantle Arts Centre.https://www.fac.org.au/whats-on/post/girt-sea-city-fremantle-art-collection/