Melissa Nungarrayi Larry was born in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Kintore, a remote Aboriginal community located 550 km west of Alice Springs, near the NT/WA border on the Tropic of Capricorn. When she was young her father died and her mother raised Melissa and her three sisters alone in Kintore. Melissa attended the local school in Kintore and when she finished school she travelled to Nyirripi, a remote Aboriginal community located in the Central Desert Region of the NT of Australia, where she met her future husband. They married and she now has five children who attend the local Nyirripi school.
Melissa began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, in 2006. The Art Centre makes regular visits to Nyirripi (140 km west of Yuendumu) to drop off canvas, paint and brushes for the artists and to collect finished artwork. Melissa is a full time artist and paints her Mother’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. She uses an unrestricted palette to paint the site of her dreaming – Yumari, developing a modern individualist style to depict her traditional Jukurrpa.