Donna Willis was born in the old Roebourne Hospital in 1975. She is the daughter of award-winning artist, Allery Sandy, and Tommy Willis. She has four children, Aiden Hughes, Chemea Smith, Koeen Smith and Shaykarni (Willis) Smith. As a child, 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 at 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 on to 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 Desert 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.’




Father Country:

Mother Country:


Current Artworks