Artist Profile

Melissa Sunfly

1st January 1978


Nampitjin and Nungurrayi

Kukatja, Tjaru and English


Melissa is a young articulate woman dedicated to keeping her culture strong. Her mother’s country is Sturt Creek and her father’s country is Lake Mackay. Melissa was raised in Yagga Yagga, by her grandmother, Bai Bai Sunfly, who introduced her to the country to the south: Mintirr, Nuntalarra, Mungai and Tjirrirbarri to learn traditional dancing, to locate water sources and to hunt and collect bush food.  Between the ages of six and thirteen, Melissa lived in Balgo to attend school. She then decided to live at Billiluna, a neighbouring community, with a close friend of her grandmother's, Elizabeth Nyumi (deceased).

Melissa is still based at Billiluna with her young son and produces paintings based on the stories taught to her by her grandparents. Melissa is intent on learning the complex traditional song cycles despite the difficulty of grasping the correct sounds. Her paintings reflect her diligent character and the significant Tjurrkupa (Dreamtime) stories she has inherited from her elders.