Nirmala Shanmughalingham was born in 1941, and has been active in the art scene since the early 1960s. Nirmala had taken part in various group and solo exhibitions throughout her career in the art scene in both Malaysia and abroad, such as the National Art Gallery Malaysia,Thailand, Fukuoka Art Museum Japan, Barbican Centre London, and also National Art Museum Singapore.

She began her training in the arts under Mohamed Hoessein Enas and furthered he studies to the Corcoran School of Art, Washington D.C, United State of America, before going to Fogg Museum of Art in Harvard University in 1971. She later took a course in Life Drawing, at the Boston College of Art, and Cambridge Adult Education Center in Massachusetts, and a a BSc(Hons) in Art History and Psychology in Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, England. She came back to Malaysia in 1978, and only came back to Europe in 1992 to study print making in Goldsmiths, while earning a Masters in Philosophy in London University College.

She was among the earliest artist who exhibited installation works in the National Art Gallery, back in 1973, and often worked in the mode of post modern, she expressed  her views through documentary photography, found objects, that  revolves with thematic that is centralised to social issues, public performance, regarding life standards, child abuse, bombings and other issues regarding the environment and natural disasters.

Nirmala passed away recently in 2016.