Project Description

Donna Willis

Age: 19/06/1975
Skin: Baylirra
Language: Millstream/Tableland
Tribe: Yindjibarndi

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Donna Willis was born in the old Roebourne Hospital. She is the daughter of Allery Sandy. Donna started kindergarten in the old building that now houses Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation. A fast learner, she then attended Roebourne Primary School before moving to Wickham High School where she completed Year 9. Subsequently she took some courses in office skills through Roebourne TAFE, and plans to study some further courses in the future.

Donna loves getting out into her country. She says, ‘From primary school we used to go to camp out to Millstream with some of the old Yindjibarndi people from there, to learn culture. Many of those old people were born there.’

Donna began her art career early in 2006. She initially started drawing, which she loves, then took up painting. Donna’s approach to painting is immediate. She starts putting down a design, translating what is in her head straight onto the canvas, choosing her colours and being led by what she sees in her mind. Each painting has its own story. She likes painting both the coastal country of the Pilbara and further inland in her father’s and grandfather’s country, showing the fresh waterholes where they fish, and the abundant flora – Sturt’s Pea, Mulla Mulla and other flowers. She says, ‘Going to Mt Florence and Millstream is like going home. Mt Florence is my grandfather’s country. He passed away when he was 86, in 1995.’

Donna won the Pilbara Landscape Prize in the 2009 Cossack Art Awards for her painting ‘When the Rivers Run.’

Group Exhibitions

2006 Colours of Our Country, Rio Tinto Exhibition, Perth WA
2007 Colours of Our Country, Rio Tinto Exhibition, Perth WA
2007 LNG15 World Conference, Barcelona, Spain
2008 Colours of Our Country, Rio Tinto Exhibition, Perth WA
2009 Colours of Our Country, Rio Tinto Exhibition, Perth WA
2010 Colours of Our Country, Rio Tinto Exhibition, Perth WA
2011 Colours of Our Country, Rio Tinto Exhibition, Perth WA
2011 Ngurra Nyingu, Woodside, Perth, WA

Awards

2006 Highly Commended, Cossack Art Awards
2009 Cossack Art Awards, Pilbara Landscape

More from our artists

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Aileen Sandy
Dawn Sandy
Nina Smith
Clifton Mack
Barngi Pansy Sambo
Kimitha Coppin
Melissa Sandy
Allery Sandy
Marlene Harold
Wendy Darby
Maudie Jerrold
Janice Sandy
Justina Willis