Susie Bootja Bootja Napaltjarri was born in the Great Sandy Desert. Her country lay around White Hills and Helena Springs (Kurtal) and she was respected for her knowledge of the law and ceremony of Kurtal (freshwater spring).
Napaltjarri told stories about playing at the waterhole of Kaningarra (northern reaches of the Canning Stock Route) in her youth.
As a teenager Napaltjarri walked in from the desert to Tjumundora, one of the early mission sites. When she moved to the old mission at Balgo, she worked in the kitchen making bread and helping serve food to the dormitory children. There she met her first husband and had her first child, Lucy. Her husband was killed on a mustering trip following intertribal conflict. Later she eloped with Mick Gill and had six more children.
Napaltjarri was one of the first women painters at Balgo and is well known for her initial use of figurative representations of country in lateral perspective (hills, trees, snakes) along with an energetic use of bright greens, pinks and sky blues.
She painted water Dreamings, tjunda (bush onions), tjirrilpattja (bush carrot), waterholes of Kurtal country, wanayarra (rainbow snake and eggs) and tartjalpa (snake).
Napaltjarri forged an innovative way of working in fields of coloured dots in 1996. She held her first solo exhibition at Raft Art Space, Darwin in 2002.