As a child growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s, Wendy had no awareness of her indigenous heritage. Probably to protect her, her parents led her to believe that her dark skin tone was due to some distant Spanish heritage. After all, aboriginals were still not yet “Australian citizens” and listed on the census before 1967. Aboriginal children and families were still taken away and “relocated”. She and her twin sister wondered why the locals sometimes attacked them and called them “aboriginal”.
At 18 years old Wendy moved to New Zealand, married Alan and raised her family. She always loved art and completed various art classes and tutorials and involved herself in art including owning her own art retail business with Susan, specialising in unusual works of art from all over the world.
On returning to Australia and reconnecting to her family, she and her twin sister, Susan got to know more about her indigenous ancestry and, in particular felt a bond and closeness to her Great Grandmother, Maggie Dunn. As she followed the story of Maggie- the removal of her first six children to a mission on the death of her first husband to never being allowed to see them again, then the placing of her and her three children from her second husband to the Purga Mission in Ipswich-Wendy found an overwhelming bond to Maggie and her grief and suffering, her stoic resilience and strength.
As Wendy sat and pondered her ancestry she began to feel a connection with the elders whom she had not even met and that connection started to bear out in her paintings.
Wendy’s work has progressed over time to very intricate and time- consuming pieces depicting many different aspects of the aboriginal way of life.