Melissa was born in Derby in 1984 and is the daughter of the late Kevin Waina and Bernadette Waina – she has lived all her life in Kalumburu.
Her father was an Internationally known painter, specialising in Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) Art. Melissa has inherited his talent, and she is sure to have a wonderful future in this very definitive style of “rock art” painting.
Interest in the magnificent and mystical rock art in the area where Melissa and her family live, along with the famous Karadada family, has escalated in the last few years. Both families paint these hauntingly beautiful images, with Lily Karadada arguably the most famous of the Wandjina painters. The Wandjina Rain God appears alongside the Gwion Gwion figures in the Mitchell Plateau and Gibb River regions of the Far North East Kimberley region of Western Australia. The incredibly large amount of scientific research carried out in an attempt to analyse the phenomena of these carvings leave much to be learned. However, the Aboriginal people of the area proudly transpose these figures to canvas and eucalyptus bark with wonderful accuracy.