Debra Nangala McDonald is a Pintupi artist, born at Papunya in 1969. Her mother Martha McDonald was an artist, as were her aunties Linda Syddick Napaltjarri and Wentja Napaltjarri. This family of artists inherits a strong line of stories that relate to their own family story, when they travelled over great distances from the Gibson Desert to come into the desert settlements. The family group settled in the small communities at Haasts Bluff, Papunya and Mt Liebig during the 1940s.
The clan leader of this small group was Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi (c1920–1987) who was Debra McDonald’s grandfather. Shorty Lungkata became one of the well-known artists at Papunya during the 1970s and 1980s and his stories relate to the ancestral sites that he knew from his country near Lake MacDonald.
Debra Nangala McDonald is also related to artist Mitjili Napurrula through marriage, and has kept a close association with her mother in law, often painting alongside her. But most of the subject material of Debra’s paintings come from her grandfather’s lineage as she keeps the ancient stories alive as part of the new generation of artists working in the Pintupi tradition.