Tjayanka was born around 1935 near Kalaya Pirti in South Australia. She is a senior Pitjantjatjara artist, and one of the four surviving pioneer women of the painting movement now known as the NPY and APY lands art movement. The people from this area have always maintained a nomadic existence, and as a result, Tjayanka is a highly knowledgeable bush woman with much traditional knowledge to express in her work.
In 2001, the artists established Irrunytju Arts in Wingellina. This is a remote aboriginal community, surrounded by large granite hills, at the edge of the Gibson Desert (WA) with a population of around 150. The harsh environment inspires extraordinary art, which reflects the strong relationship between the artists, their country and their culture. Tjayanka has since moved to the Blackstone community, to the arts centre at Papulankutja, where she acts as inspiration to the younger women in the community.