Cecilia Alfonso and Gloria Morales awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Statement from Wendy Nungurrayi Brown, Chairwoman of Warlukurlangu Artists, June 2023:

“We are very proud of our art centre and happy that Cecilia and Gloria are being recognised for their work at Warlukurlangu Artists. We know that they are hard working and excellent managers.  They are a good team and their dedication is a big part of why Warlukurlangu Artists is such a strong business today.

When Cecilia first came to Yuendumu, the art centre was only a small company. Just a little community house. She has helped us grow the business and now we are a large and successful company.  Cecilia is honest, always keeping the money story and accounts strong. Growing the company each and every year.  She is good at selling our paintings, working at the air fairs and has helped to share our paintings and teach the world about our art and culture.   She is also kind, working with the young kids at childcare and worried for the old people and community. Taking all the old artists to the eye doctor and helping to get dialysis and the swimming pool for Yuendumu.

They are always working for the art centre and community. Gloria worried about the old, sick people and looking after all the animals. She organised the vet to come to Yuendumu and started the Dog Program. The are both great managers. Gloria is great working with the artists in the art centre.  Teaching young people how to stretch, make paintings, mix colours. We don’t only do painting at Warlukurlangu. We are always trying new things.  Exploring new styles and trying different ways to paint and tell our story.

When they first came to Yuendumu they were working with the elders. Those first painters like my parents.  They care about the artists they work and this community. Sharing our paintings and traveling to exhibitions, we have been able to travel the world together. Working in two worlds.  Gloria went to Paris with my parents.  I remember going to the World Expo in China with Cecilia and my sister.  All the old artists have passed away now and today Cecilia and Gloria are working with their families. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those first people they met. They are helping support them to become artists and the next generation of painters. From the small house, we are now a large art centre. They were both here for all the renovations and they have supported Nyirrpi to start an art program and it now has its own art studio and accomodation.

They came to Yuendumu and we made them part of our family. We gave them skin names. Cecilia is a Napangardi and Gloria is a Napaljarri. These are the names we use to call out to them everyday. They came here when they were young. Only young girls. Now they have grey hair and are old women. We are happy that they came to Yuendumu and that they have stayed working for us for so long. We are proud of them and that their hard work at Warlukurlangu is being honoured with this award.”