“Being a painter makes me relax.”
Melissa Napangardi Williams was born in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. She is the daughter of Alice Napurrurla Nelson and Warren Japanangka Williams, and has one sister and two brothers. Melissa attended the local school before going to Yirara College, an Aboriginal boarding college in Alice Springs. When she graduated from College, she returned to Yuendumu where she worked as a Receptionist at the local School, at the Health Clinic and later became a full-time carer, looking after her two nephews, niece and her son and daughter.
Melissa Napangardi began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2004. She paints her Father’s Wanakiji Jukurrpa (Bush Tomato Dreaming), Yarla Jukurrpa (Bush Potato Dreaming) and Yuparli Jukurrpa (Bush Banana Dreaming). She also paints her Mother’s Wardapi Jukurrpa (Goanna Dreaming). These stories were passed down to her by her family and their ancestors before them for millennia. She uses an unrestricted palette to develop a modern interpretation of traditional motifs with her own ideas of design and pattern.
When not painting, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.