Wendy Darby was born in Port Hedland and grew up in the bush community at Yandeyarra, a cattle station belonging to her people just outside Port Hedland. Yandeyarra had a hostel, shops and a school. Now there are a lot of new houses there as well. It is near the Yule River, which flows through the country, flooding the flats in the wet season. In the early years Wendy lived a traditional life with her family, with the old people teaching the young people all about the places, plants and animals of the area through their stories. Wendy says, ‘Through these stories I learnt all about my country, about bush medicine, how to collect this and that plant and how to use them for various ailments, as pastes or liquids to drink. I’ve been all around there. Been everywhere. All the old people used to live there and work the station. We also went to another station belonging to the aboriginal community Waidyaganga, where there was a cattle camp. Lots of mustering, and horse training. Lots of young fellows used to go there to work. Trucks used to collect the cattle from there. Every time I do my painting, I think about my country and what the old people taught me.’ Wendy initially starting sewing with Patricia Floyd who was teaching TAFE sewing classes in Roebourne. Patricia then introduced painting. Although Wendy already loved sketching, she was a little nervous about moving on to paint. Watching her sister-in-law, Allery Sandy, paint with such commitment gave her the confidence to take up the brush. She felt a particular sense of recognition with the way Allery worked and soon began to develop her own style and to paint her own story from her own country. Now they all paint together with other family members and friends at Yinjaa-Barni Art centre in a lively creative atmosphere. Wendy enjoys learning new techniques and quickly adapts them to her style. Her works have been exhibited regularly at the Japingka Gallery in Fremantle and they have found their way into a number of private collections.




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Current Artworks