Zenaida Nampijinpa Gallagher was born in 1993, in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Nyirripi, a remote aboriginal community located approximately 430 km from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. She is the grand-daughter of Gayle Napangardi and Teddy Jakamarra Gibson and grand-daughter of Pauline Napangardi Gallagher, major Warlpiri artists. Zenaida attended Kormilda College, an Anglican and Uniting Church day and residential secondary college located at Berrimah in Darwin, Northern Territory. When she finished school, she returned to Nyirripi where she still lives.
She began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu and Nyirripi, in 2007. “I like to paint the emu and the different colours and designs with just one emu.” Zenaida paints her father’s and grandfather’s Yankirri Jukurrpa (Emu Dreaming – Ngarlikurlangu), stories which relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. These stories have been passed down to her by her father and his father before him for millennia. She uses colour and traditional iconography to represent her Yankirri Jukurrpa.
When she is not painting, she likes to watch footy or go hunting with her husband, friends and family.