Selena Nakamarra Gorey was born on the 7 June 1973 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. When she was little she lived in Papunya with her mother and father. In the early 80s her father died and shortly after that she moved to Yuendumu with her mother, Dadu Nungarrayi Gorey, a well-known artist who first joined the Warlukurlangu Artists in 1987.
In the early years Selena use to watch her mother paint and later paint with her at home. In 2006, when she was in her early 30s, she began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu. She paints her mother’s Karnta Jukurrpa (Women’s Dreaming) and her father’s Warna Jukurrpa (Snake Dreaming), stories that relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. They were passed down to her by her parents and their parents before them for millennia. She uses traditional iconology and an unrestricted palette to develop a modern interpretation of her traditional culture.
When both Selena and her mother Dadu first joined the Warlukurlangu Artists, they not only painted with the art centre but worked in the art centre as cleaners and childcarers. Today, Selena still continues her cleaning duties. As well as her mother, she has sons and a daughter living in Yuendumu and belongs to a “big mob now”.