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Lena Willalang

Spinifex Hill Studios

‘I was born at Port Hedland Hospital in the early sixties. I went to school at Strelley. From Strelley we moved to Warralong community and stayed there for a long time. I finished up school in Warralong. When there were holidays they took us camping to the river, Marlee River. Sometimes we used to go to the gorge as well. From there I went away to Wiluna. I started to work, picking oranges from the trees. And the emu skin, I made leather from it and made it into different colours, and then they would send it to Perth for people to make belts and wallets and things.

I was never really interested in painting before, I only started painting in 2010. They asked me at Warralong if I wanted to come and paint and I said “yeah, I’ll give it a try”. I used to come up and down to Hedland from Warralong and then moved here (to South Hedland) in 2010. Then I started painting with the Spinifex Hill Artists in 2011 when they came and asked if I wanted to come in. I enjoy painting here.’

Language group: Manjilyajarra