Christine Nakamarra Curtis was born in Alice Spring Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs. She was born into a family of artists, which include Kelly Napanangka Michaels, her mother, Roy Jupurrurla Curtis, her father and Alice Nampijinpa Henwood Michaels, her Aunty. She is the eldest of 7 sisters and spent most of her childhood at Nyirripi, a remote Aboriginal community located 150 km north-west of Yuendumu.
She attended her local school, then Yirara College, an Aboriginal boarding college in Alice Springs. Christine continued her studies at Kormilda College, an Aboriginal boarding college in Darwin. When she finished schooling she returned to Nyirripi where she worked in the store. “I love the place. I grew up here – learning from the old people.” Christine began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, in 2007. Warlukurlangu Artists provides an outlet for Warlpiri artists to paint their cultural heritage and earn income from their work. This service is extended to Nyirripi artists, on a weekly basis, by delivering canvas and paint to artists and picking up finished artwork.
Christine paints her grandparent’s dreaming on her mother’s side, Dreamings which relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. These stories have been passed down for millennia. “I like the patterns and all those colours, and the stories. Watching family painting, they show you the dreaming.” Christine uses an unrestricted palette to develop a modern interpretation of her traditional culture. Christine has two sons, Navarone and Mahela, who attend the local school in Nyirripi.