Athalia Nakamarra Nelson was born in 1999 in Alice Springs to Patricia Nungarrayi Spencer and Simon Nelson. She has three sisters, Narelle Nakamarra, Shanna Nakamarra, and Sharlene Nakamarra Nelson. Athelia grew up in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community located 290 kms north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. She went to Yirara College, an Aboriginal boarding college in Alice Springs, graduating in Year 11. When she finished school, she returned home.
In 2016 Athelia began painting for Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu. She learnt to paint at school but also learnt by watching her mother paint. She particularly likes painting Jurlpu Kuja kalu nyinami Yurntumu Jukurrpa, (Birds that live around Yuendumu Dreaming). These stories relate directly to the birds that inhabit her land. She uses form and an unrestricted palette to depict contemporary images of the birds and animals, capturing images that contain both elements of realism and abstraction.
Athelia lives with her partner and has one son born in 2016. When she is not painting, she enjoys playing with her young son.