Paddy Japaljarri Gibson, whose Aboriginal name is Jampalwarnu, was born in the bush before contact with kartiya (non-Aboriginal) people. His Dreaming places are Jarripiri near Yaturluyaturlu (The Granites), Purrkiji and Yapakurlangu.
Most of his early life was spent in this area with his family before the Native Affairs Branch of the Federal Government established two settlements for Warlpiri people - Yuendumu in 1946 and Lajamanu (originally called Hooker Creek) in 1949.
Japaljarri is an important Warlpiri leader with prime responsibility for Dreaming sites in the Kulingalimpa-Mirirrinyungu area where many of the initiation-related stories are located. He is renowned as ngankari (traditional healer) and lives with his extended family at Mirirrinyungu outstation (Duck Pond), near the Buchanan Hills. His Dreamings include janganpa (marsupial mouse), mala (hare wallaby), wati-jarra (two men) and yarla (big yam).
Japaljarri began to paint in 1986 when a traditional painting course was set up in the Adult Education Centre at Lajamanu. His earliest works are distinguished by their vibrant colour and dynamic design sense.
He began to exhibit in Lajamanu group shows in 1987 and his work was also included in important survey exhibitions of Aboriginal art, including Mythscapes: Aboriginal Art of the Desert, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1989 and L'Eté Australien à Montpellier, Musée Fabre, France, 1990. The artist is married to Sister Nakamarra Gibson who also paints.