Michael Japaljarri Wayne was born in 1985 in the Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community located 290 km north-west from Alice Springs in the NT of Australia He is the son of Johnny Jungarrayi and Lee Nangala Gallagher-Wayne and the grandson of Mary Napangardi Gallagher, all successful artists working with Warlukurlangu Artists. He watched his parents and grandparents paint their Jukurrpa and listened to their stories. He is married to Ritasha Nampijinpa Watson and has one son, Johnny.
He has lived in the Aboriginal Community of Yuendumu his whole life. He attended the local high school where he finished Year 8 in 2001. When he finished school he worked for the Community Development Employment Project (CDPE) and also worked on the Mt Theo Program, a successful program started by Yuendumu Community to address chronic petrol sniffing in Yuendumu.
Michael has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2003. He paints his father’s Jukurrpa stories, Dreamings which related directly to his land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. These stories were passed down to him by his father and his father’s father before him for millennia.
When he is not painting or working he enjoys playing football with the local Yuendumu team and hunting for goanna and kangaroo.