Sarah Napaljarri Sims was born in 1988 in Derby Hospital, the closest hospital to Balgo, a remote Aboriginal community in Western Australia, linked with both the Great Sandy Desert and the Tanami Desert. Her Mum was from Balgo and her Dad from Nyirripi, another remote Aboriginal community approx. 660 km north-east from Balgo. Sara lived with her parents in Balgo until she was thirteen years old, when her Mum passed away. Her father, Evan Jungarrayi Sims moved back to Nyirripi, where Sara’s Grandmother, Bessie Nakamarra Sims (1931-2012) raised her. Sara began her schooling in Balgo and finished it in Nyirripi. After she left school she travelled, visiting family in Kintore and Balgo, before returning to Nyirripi where she now lives. She is a single Mum with one son, born in 2010.
Sara began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, in 2013. The Art Centre makes regular visits to Nyirripi to drop off canvas, paint and brushes for the artists and to collect finished artwork. She paints her Grandmother’s Jukurrpa, stories about women’s ceremony held near Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs). ”I use to watch my grandmother paint and listen to her stories.” These stories have been passed down through generations for millennia and relate directly to the land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. Sara finds painting relaxing and uses an unrestricted palette to develop a modern interpretation of her traditional culture.
When Sara is not painting she enjoys her home and is ‘house proud’ creating a clean home to share with family and friends, especially when watching TV. On weekends she sometimes goes hunting with her family.