Paddy Jupurrula Nelson was born at Napanangkajarra near Yuendumu. The artist's country stretched from Yumurrpa to Watikinpirri, south-west of Yuendumu. The principal site there is Ngama, which is associated with yarripiri (snake ancestor).
Paddy's Dreamings were yarla (big yam) and ngarlajiyi (small yam), warna (snake), ngapa (water), Karrku (Mt Stanley), janganpa (possum), mukaki (bush plum), karnta (women), wati-jarra (two men), Ngama (snake Dreaming place), pamapardu (flying ant), manakaji (bush sultana), marlu (kangaroo) and yipirntiri (small bush plum).
Jupurrula was one of the Warlpiri men chosen to work on the Yuendumu Doors project in 1983-84 and began to paint on canvas soon after. His work was included in the first exhibition of Yuendumu paintings at the Araluen Centre in Alice Springs in October 1985.
In 1988 Paddy Nelson was selected by the Power Gallery, Sydney University, to travel to Paris with five other Warlpiri men from Yuendumu to create a ground painting installation at the exhibition Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
His work featured in many major exhibitions of Aboriginal art including Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia, The Asia Society Galleries, New York, 1989; Mythscapes: Aboriginal Art of the Desert, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1989, Images of Religion in Australian Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1988-89 and Aboriginal Art and Spirituality, High Court, Canberra, 1991.
The artist was married to Daisy Napanangka Nelson who also painted for Warlukurlangu Artists.