Mavis was born at New Haven. She is the sister of Ronnie Tjampitjinpa and Smithy Zimran Tjampitjinpa. Her sisters Yuyuwa Nampitjinpa and Gina Nampitjinpa are from the same birth mother and father (Tjangala). She enjoys traveling to Kintore to visit with her sister Yuyuwa. Gina lives in Alice Springs and Mavis is able to see her regularly.
She moved to Haasts Bluff as a teenager with her mother. When she married she moved to Mt Liebig with her husband and begun to paint at the art centre there. Mavis returned to Haast’s Bluff at the death of her husband, later moving to Papunya.
Mavis likes to paint the Ceremonial Dancing of ladies at Mt Liebig, and represents their body painting designs. She also paints the story given to her by her grandfather of “Kalipinpa”, the Water Dreaming which comes from her mother’s side.
She has raised five children as her own, and her daughter Sylvana Napanangka Marks is also an artist.
Kalipinpa is the major water dreaming that Mavis Nampitjinpa paints.
Kalipinpa rockhole is north of Sandy Blight Junction (near Kintore), and this is the country of Mavis’s maternal Grandfather. She says that he gave this to her to paint, “My Grandfather’s country” is the phrase she chooses to explain the authority with which she paints.
She depicts the running water associated with the storm that created this country. Lightning and thunder feature as she speaks of this special place, but she is concerned primarily with the water as it forms creeks and streams and falls to the ground as rain drops.
This site is particularly special as it is situated in Pintupi tribal country but is not only a special site to the Pintupi people but also to the Luritja and Warlpiri people.