When I was invited (to join two recording producers, a journalist, a photographer and two film crew, to help document the traditional stories of the Bardi people). I felt it inappropriate that I should attempt to illustrate Aboriginal stories until it was explained to me that the Bardi do not paint. In fact one of the stories explains why. It is said that if a Bardi was to paint, then the small mischievous spirits called “Rai” erase any image created. “Because they don’t paint, most of the stories are preserved in songs. This is why the recording producers were there. It was my job to try to illustrate the songs.

I feel honoured to be offered this opportunity and insight into this remarkable culture. I will always treasure and remember with gratitude the warmth and generosity shown me by the Bardi.

Brendon Darby

“Ilma” was on display at Stafford Studios of Fine Art in Cottesloe, Western Australia, 7th – 28th November 2001.