Janet Long Nakamarra was born in Anninie in the Warnapari homelands in the Northern Territory, North West of Alice Springs. She was taught the stories associated with her country and the body paint designs used in women’s ceremonies by her Aunts, May and Molly Napurula.
Her Mother is artist Nora Long Nakamarra, her sister, also an artist is Doreen Dickson Nakamarra and her half brother is well known artist Malcolm Jagamarra. The latter has worked with Janet collaboratively on a number of projects and was instrumental in Janet’s transition to painting.
After leaving school in 1975 Janet Long Nakamarra began assisting the elders in the community in producing books in Warlpiri language whilst also studying to be a teacher. These books “Warlpiri Women’s Voices” were translated into both English and Warlpiri. Through her hard work and determination she gained the status of linguist with her people and began to teach as a literacy worker at the Willowra School.
Author, Vivien Johnson, engaged Janet as a translator when she began to collect information for her book, A Dictionary of Biographies, (1994) . This gave Janet the experience she needed to become an official translator.
In 2003 after a period of apprenticeship and women’s law she was given permission by the Warlpiri elders to paint stories about Ngapa (of Water Dreaming). In these paintings Janet depicts the underground water flow at Warntapari and the soakages. Her symbols show areas where women’s ceremonies are performed as will as indicating the subjects of her paintings. Like many other artists from the area she uses an aerial view of the landscape in her paintings. Other subjects of Janet’s artworks include Bandicoot, Witchetty Grub, Snake, Frog, Women’s Ceremony and Seed Dreamings.
Janet has travelled to the Australian Embassy in New York and her work is included in several public collections.