Selma (Nunay) Coulthard Nakamarra

Selma (Nunay) Coulthard Nakamarra

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DOB: 1954
Born: Alice Springs, NT
LANGUAGE GROUP: Luritja, Central Arrente, Western Aranda
COMMUNITY: Alice Springs, NT

Selma Coulthard was born in1954 in Alice Springs. She was called Nunay by her family which means "Cute One". Selma grew up at Tempe Downs Station, but wanted to go to school at Hermannsburg, which she did.

Selma has 5 children and has also been raising her grandson (son), Shane. She is determined to support him through his schooling years so he can get a good job and be proud of his heritage.

Selma learnt to paint watching the artists in the Todd River. It was from these beginnings that she went on to paint in watercolours. Her background in this medium is evident in the texturizing of her acrylic on linen she paints today.

Although Selma's influence were the artists in the Todd River, the stories came from her grandmothers and the laws of the land. She remembers her mother and grandmother drawing stories in the sand with a piece of wire. Selma gets inspiration from these stories.

There are certain areas she can't paint about, but "Running Waters" is one region she often depicts in her paintings. Her father was custodian of this land and now her brothers have taken over this position.


  • Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
  • Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne
  • Queensland Art Gallery Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Awards and Recognition

2021 Ravenswood Art Prize - Finalist in the category 'Indigenous Emerging'


Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Desert Mob 30, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
2021 Hermannsburg Potters & Iltja Ntarra / May Hands: Pmara Nurnaka, Yia Nurnaka: Our Country, Our Stories, Bett Gallery, Hobart
2019 The National 2019, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
2019 Tjina Nurna-ka, Pmarra Nurn-kanha, Itla Itla Nurn-kanha (Our family, our country, our legacy), Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide
2019 Pmarra Nurna-Kananhala untha-lapp-urma (Walking through country), Hazelhurst Art Centre, Sydney
2018 Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
2018 The Endurance of Bush Medicine, Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne
2014 Women Artisits of the Hermannsburg School of Art, The Residency, Alice Springs
2011 Wollongong City Gallery, Wollongong
2011 The University Gallery, Newcastle
2011 Chapman Gallery, Canberra
2011 Northern Rivers Performing Arts, Lismore
2010 Flinders University City Gallery, Adelaide