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Kevin Waina

“Gwion Gwion Rock Art” by Kevin Waina


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Kevin and his wife, Bernadette, live at Kalumburu. They have seven children, the three eldest (Cassandra, Melissa and Lawrence) showing the talent of their father.   Bernadette is also very well known for her artefacts her bush buckets made from moulded bark are collectors’ items.  

Kevin was born at Wyndham in 1954 and has lived most of his life at Kalumburu.  He visits Kununurra quite often, for Gallery in house” painting and of course for the Melbourne Cup and Christmas Shopping.  He has travelled extensively throughout Australia and Overseas including leading a contingent of indigenous people to Rome to visit the Vatican.  When asked why he was chosen as the leader, he laughingly replied Because if we got lost, I’m the only one cheeky enough to ask the way home”. Kevin is delightful company he described the Colosseum as much smaller than I expected”, then went on to compare it with an Australian Rules Football oval he paced out the Colosseum and knew exactly how many paces that equalled as to the Football oval.

Kalumburu is a beautiful spot on the coast in the far north of the East Kimberley famous for fishing, mud crabs, and oysters.  Kevin is in charge of the radio station at Kalumburu he broadcasts to the Kimberley and Pilbara region, and very often on Monday right around Australia all via Satellite ex Broome.  He is articulate and has a wonderful depth of knowledge of his culture and stories of his paintings and is very willing to share this.

Kevin’s preferred medium is ochre on canvas or bark, and his paintings depict the Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) rock art which is prolific in his country (Kwini area), combined with the Wallarwhroo, a white figure similar to but very different from the Wandjina figures, in that the Wandjina represents the Rain God Kevin’s Wallarwhroo directs the hunters as to the best and allowable” places for hunting and fishing the hands in his paintings represent the places where his people are not allowed to go.  The people bring the Wallarwhroo gifts in return for his direction.  

The country in Kevin’s paintings of Bradshaw Art is from Oombulgurri to Kalumburu, including King George Sound.  The Wandjina Country is from the Prince Regent area south to Mowanjum.  He is very precise about these boundaries.

Kevin is one of the best known Bradshaw artists.  He has exhibited widely and his works are held in major private and corporate collections worldwide.  Due to his in-depth knowledge of Bradshaw Art (one of the most fascinating of the rock art styles), he is often interviewed and consulted by the media and experts in this field.

In his spare time, Kevin is a muso and plays guitar and sings with the Sunset Band.

 About the Artwork

The Bradshaw figures are symmetrical, mystical, beautifully depicted at times with elaborate headwear of conical shape with intricate “knotted” trails giving an almost sophisticated and elegant picture. Others appear in hunting scenes, festive dancing positions with a great deal of movement, contrasting with some rock art features creating a “shiver down one’s spine” as the viewer imagines an offensive aura which perhaps could be hunting, perhaps could be a warning, perhaps could be threatening. Everyone who has been fortunate enough to view these magical images will draw their own conclusions and at the end of the day, still be amazed, perplexed, hypnotized.