Born Circa.1930 in country North West of Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay), Western Australia, Tjunkiya Napaltjarri moved to Haasts Bluff along the Macdonnell Ranges with her family.
Tjunkiya moved to Walungurru (Kintore) and began painting with her community Art Centre Papunya Tula Artists in the late 1990s. She painted with her sister Wintjya Napaltjarri at the community shed in Kintore until 2004. From 2004 until her death in 2009, she preferred to paint from home, the widow’s camp outside Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula considered her son’s former residence).
Using a scratching through thick pigment technique to reveal under-colours and create texture, Tjunkiya’s paintings have a distinctive style. Tjunkiya’s daughter, Mitjili Napurrula – working from Haasts Bluff – also became a well known Central Australian artist.
Tjunkiya’s work can be found in national and international collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Australia and the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.