Melissa Nampijinpa Karpa was born in 1992 in Laramba, a remote aboriginal community, 205 km north-west of Alice Springs in the Norther Territory of Australia. She is the daughter of Sarah Napurrurla Leo, an artist with Warlukurlangu Art Centre and has three sisters and one brother. Melissa attended the local school, finishing in Year 12. She currently lives in Laramba and paints with the Laramba Art Centre. Her mother lives in Yuendumu, a remote aboriginal community, 105 km further north west from Laramba.
Melissa first began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, in 2016, when visiting her extended family. When Melissa visits she continues to paint with her family. She paints her father’s Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming). Stories relating directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it.