Selma Napanangka Tasman was born in Darwin Hospital, the closest hospital to Lajamanu, an Aboriginal community in semi-arid country on the edge of the Tanami Desert, halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs. She was born to Angelina Nampijinpa Tasman and Alec Japangardi Tasman and she has three sisters and one brother.
When Selma was 11 years old she moved from Lajamanu to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community a further 300 km south of Lajamanu, with her family. She attended the local school in Yuendumu and completed her studies at Yirara College, an Aboriginal boarding college in Alice Springs.
Selma has been painting intermittently with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2001. She paints her father’s and mother’s Jukurrpa stories, Dreamings which relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. These stories were passed down to her by her father and mother and her grandparents and their parents before them for millennia. Selma uses an unrestricted palette to develop a modern interpretation of her traditional culture.
Selma has three children and when she is not painting she is kept busy looking after them.