Wanda was born in the Woorabinda hospital in 1946. Her family had been moved from Cape Bedford and interned at Wooribinda Settlement (west of Rockhampton) during WW2. The Australian Government considered the Lutheran Missions in Cape York a threat to national security. After the war, Wanda and her family were moved back to a new settlement in Hope Valley called Hopevale.
Wanda’s totems are the Thuka (Goanna) on her father’s side and the Waandarr (White Cockatoo), mother’s side
She is a fluent Guugu Yimithirr speaker and important elder for the Nugal Warra clan group.
Wanda belongs to the Gamba Gamba group (senior women) at the art centre. Artworks by the gamba draw on traditional Guugu Yimmithirr Warra culture and contemporary and mission time histories. The women hold deep cultural knowledge of family kinship systems, sacred sites, esoteric characters and totems and are passionate about recording language and traditional stories to preserve and hand down to the younger generations.
She’s been one of the art centre’s longest practicing artists. Wanda is also a gifted weaver and master dilly bag maker.
Wanda completed a Diploma in Visual Arts through Cairns Institute of TAFE.