Joy Napangardi Michaels was born in 1991 in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Nyirripi, a remote Aboriginal community located 440 km from Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. She was raised by her grandmother Alice Nampijinpa Henwood Michaels, a well-known Warlukurlangu artist. Joy has one sister, Simone Napangardi Morton who also paints for the Art Centre. Joy attended the local school and finished her schooling at Kormilda, an Aboriginal boarding college in Darwin. When she graduated from school she lived in Yuendumu for a short time, where she worked for the Yuendumu Mining Shop, then the Childcare Centre. Joy is a single Mum and now lives in Nyirripi with her daughter who was born in 2012.
Joy has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2012. She paints her Grandmother’s Jukurrpa, Dreamings which have been passed down over the generations for millennia and relate directly to the land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. Joy paints Lappi Lappi Jukurrpa, a rock hole near Lake Hazlett. “Painting Lappi Lappi is good. I learn a lot about my Grandmother’s dreaming – when I paint she tells me a story at the same time.” Joy uses an unrestricted palette to paint the site of her dreaming – Lappi Lappi, developing a modern individualist style to depict her traditional Jukurrpa.
When Joy is not painting or looking after her daughter she likes to go hunting with family members.