Verna Lawrie

Arts Ceduna

Verna Lawrie was born at Koonibba Aboriginal Mission situated 35 kilometers west of Ceduna, a town on the Westcoast of South Australia, in 1953. As a younger artist, Verna worked part time at the Ceduna Aboriginal Arts and Culture Centre where she supported artists in the painting studios. Having painted all her life, Verna grew up surrounded by her artistic Mirning family members. Her husband was a renowned painter, but also her children and grandchildren are artists. Her grandson, Beaver Lennon, is an internationally renowned artist from Ceduna. Verna says being an artist comes naturally, especially because she relates to painting from a Cultural perspective. She expresses storytelling through her paintings and reoccurring themes include whale dreaming stories. Art expresses the storytelling of her peoples, Verna believes. Verna enjoys attending creative workshops and cultural trips to the lands which give her the opportunity to meet other artists, sharing stories about culture and painting. These opportunities allow her to learn about her culture, while passing on knowledge to her children and grandchildren. Verna was awarded NAIDOC Artist of the Year in 2008, but she also won the Port Lincoln Art Prize in 2008 and received the Merit Award in the same art prize in 2018. Verna has participated in the Tarnanthi Aboriginal art fair in Adelaide since 2018, and regularly participated in the Our Mob Aboriginal group exhibition that is hosted at Art Space in Adelaide. Her works were displayed at notable group exhibitions including the Adelaide Meets the Bush by the Natural Resources Alinytjara Wilurara (NRAW) at Tandanya (2018) and the Leviathan Exhibition at the Maritime Museum (SAMM) of South Australia (2017) and the National ATSI exhibition Ngarlurgu displayed at Tandanya in Adelaide (2012). She also participated in group exhibitions at the Red Poles gallery in McLaren Vale in South Australia (2007, 2009 and 2010).