Kirsten Nangala Egan was born on the 7 November 1989 in Yuendumu, a remote aboriginal community located 290 kms north-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. She and her family lived in the bush in Wayililinypa, a distance of 45 kms from Yuendumu. She began her schooling at the local school, where her grandmother was an assistant teacher. When she was seven she was sent to “Our Lady of the Sacred Hearts College” in Alice Springs and after graduating from Traeger Campus she continued her education at Yirara College, an Aboriginal boarding college also in Alice Springs. When she finished school, she returned to Yuendumu where she tutored and read books with the “little ones” at school. She also worked at the local Centrelink until 2011 when she had a little boy Xavier, who is now 5 yrs old and going to school.
She was born into a family of artists in particular her mother Madeleine Napangardi Dixon and her grandmother Jeannie Nungarrayi Egan. Like her mother and her grandmother, she paints with Warlukurlangu Artists Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre. She began painting in 2003 when she attended workshops during the school holidays and later, when she returned to Yuendumu, she painted on a regular basis. She paints her Father’s dreaming, Yankirri Jukurrpa (Emu Dreaming) and Warlukurlangu Jukurrpa (Fire Country Dreaming) which are often depicted in the one painting. She also paints her Mother’s Mina Mina Jukurrpa and Pampardu Jukurrpa (Flying Ant Dreaming) as well as her grandfather’s Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming). These Dreamings relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it and are passed down to her by her parents and their parents before them for millennia.
Painting is important to Kirsten, “I like painting and I like the earthy colours. My Grandmother painted with earthy colours too. When I was very young I would watch my grandmother paint—I would also help her.”