Rowena Nungarrayi Larry was born in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yeulamu, a remote Aboriginal community (located on the site of the old Mount Allan Station) and situated approximately 40 km south of Yuendumu on the Tanami Track. Rowena lives in Yeulamu close to her country, which is Mt Campbell located 68 km south of Yeulamu.. Both her mum and dad are deceased. She has three sisters and 2 brothers. She attended the local school and excelled in reading, writing and sports. When she finished school she began working with the Aged Care and later teaching at the local school. She is currently assisting with the preparation of art canvasses for Warlukurlangu Artists. Rowena is married to Jack Jangala Cook (a well-respected Mt Allan artist) and has 5 children, all living in Yeulamu and 4 grandchildren.
Rowena began painting when her children were little, after watching other people paint. In 2012 she participated in the Mt Allan Workshop run by Warlukurlangu Art Centre. She found it enjoyable and continues to paint with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT. She paints her Jukurrpa or Women’s stories, stories that relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. They have been passed down to her by her parents and their parents before them for millennia.
Rowena was a keen softball player but now she likes to paint and spend time with her family. She also has sisters living in Adelaide and Dock River and brothers living in or near Darwin so she likes to visit them too.