Magda Nakamarra Curtis was born in Alice Springs Hospital, and spent most of her childhood at Nyirripi, a remote Aboriginal community located 450 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. She attended her local school, then Yirara College, an Aboriginal boarding college in Alice Springs. Magda continued her studies at Bachelor College before travelling around the Kimberleys in WA. On her travels she stayed at Balgo, where she first started painting when she was 19 years old. Magda is married to Paul Nelson and now lives in Nyirripi.
When Magda returned home to her family she began painting with the Warlukurlangu Artists in 2004. Her mother Kelly Napanangka Michaels, who lives in Yuendumu and her Aunty Alice Nampijinpa Henwood Michaels, who lives in Nyirripi also paint with Warlukurlangu Artists and have been painting there since 1987 and 1989 respectively. Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation is an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu.
As a child living in Nyirripi, Magda would often watch her grandmothers and grandfathers paint and listen to them as they told her stories of their country. Her Grandparents have passed away since but her Big Sister Mary Anne Nampijinpa Michaels is like a Grandmother to her. She likes painting her Bib Sister’s dreaming, Lappi Lappi Jukurrpa, a rock hole in country belonging to her grandmother. Besides painting Lappi Lappi Jukurrpa, Magda paints her Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) Jajiidi Jukurrpa (Western Quoll Dreaming) and Wardapi Jukurrpa (Goanna Dreaming), Dreamings which relate directly to her land, its features and animals.
When not painting Magda loves spending time hunting for goannas and traditional bush foods in the countryside around Nyirripi and Yuendumu.