Jorna Napurrurla Nelson was born in 1928 or 1932 near Mt Doreen, west of Yuendumu and died in Nyirripi in 2011. A Warlpiri speaker, Jorna lived in both Yuendumu (an Aboriginal community in Australia's Northern Territory, 290 km northwest of Alice Springs) and sometimes in Nyirripi, an Aboriginal community 160 km further northwest of Yuendumu. Mt Doreen is located between Nyirripi and Yuendumu.
As a young girl Jorna would have lived a nomadic life with her parents, as hunter-gatherers in the desert, learning about the country in the traditional way. In 1946 Yuendumu was established and by 1947 it was home to a Baptist mission. Jorna and her family would have been among the many Warlpiri people who, by 1955, had settled in Yuendumu.
Jorna began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation in 1987. She painted her mother and father's Jukurrpa stories, Dreamings passed down to her through the generations for millennia, directly relating to her land and all its features, including the flora and fauna that live there
Jorna generally painted stories about sacred sites or about the animals and plants that are commonly found in the country surrounding this community. Food and bush tucker are still regularly hunted and collected today and Jorna loved to go out hunting with her family and friends, for goanna, kangaroo, snakes and witchetty grubs, and bush tucker including native currants, bush bananas and bush potatoes.