Kalumburu artist Regina Karadada carries on the strong tradition of her family in painting the Wandjina spirit in his role as Rainmaker and Creation Ancestor. The northern-most Kimberley community of Kalumburu is set deep in the Wandjina spirit country, which covers all the coastal Kimberley regions around and south of the community.Kalumburu has been a strong centre for traditional artefacts including didgeridoos, clapping sticks, shields, bark buckets, stone axes and spear-throwers, often decorated in ochre motifs that can be seen in the rock art sites. Artists in the community began painting with ochre on more contemporary materials in the 1970s, applying the skills of traditional culture to canvas and board.Regina Karadada began painting late in the 1990s. “Just started painting by myself – Gwions Gwions and Wandjinas, black figures on a white background, later bringing in red and yellow. Started with acrylic on canvas or bark. I used to go with Mum Lily (auntie Lily Karadada) to get bark.”
About the artwork
The Gwion Gwion paintings or The Bradshaws refer to regional traditions of rock art found in the north-west Kimberley region of Western Australia. The identity of who painted these figures and the age of the art are contended within archaeology and amongst Australian rock art researchers. These aspects have been debated since the works were first discovered and recorded by pastoralist Joseph Bradshaw in 1891, after whom they were named. As the Kimberley is home to various Aboriginal language groups, the rock art is referred to and known by many different Aboriginal names, the most common of which are Gwion Gwion or Giro Giro. The art consists primarily of human figures ornamented with accessories such as bags, tassels and headdresses.