Darren was the first child to be born in the Wyndham Hospital in 1970. He grew up around Derby and Bidyadanga, south of Broome. This is his mother and grandmother’s traditional lands, which Darren is a custodian of. Darren was raised by his mother and step father, who is from Warawa tribe in Derby.
Darren’s family spreads all along the saltwater country in the Kimberley’s region, and are all custodians of the land where the Wandjinas have been painted onto the rock walls for tens of thousands of years. The Wandjina is an important “Boss” spirit, meaning of the highest power. The Wandjina is often called the rainmaker and seen bringing the clouds and lightning to the Kimberley’s.
About the artworks
In these paintings, Darren paints the Wandjina. Wandjinas are only found in the Kimberley region (north-eastern Western Australia), nowhere else in Australia. They are deeply spiritual to the people of this area, the Mowanjum people, who comprise three language groups, the Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal. To these people, the Wandjina is the supreme Creator and a symbol of fertility and rain. Their ancestors have been painting Wandjina and Gyorn Gyorn (also called Gwion Gwion) figures in rock art sites scattered throughout the western Kimberley for millennia. This is the oldest continuous sacred painting movement on the planet. Unique to the Mowanjum people, Wandjinas have large eyes, like the eye of a storm, but no mouth. It is said they have no mouth because that would make them too powerful. They are often depicted with elaborate headdresses, indicating different types of storms.