Regina Karadada is the next generation of senior Wunumbal artists from Kalumburu community in Western Australia's most remote north western region. She was born in Wyndham in 1952 at a time when her community was run as a mission settlement. Regina was "taught by the Spanish nuns - good school, taught me everything that I know now, and music, cooking, sewing - everything." The settlement remained as a mission until 1980 when the community went their own way.
Regina's family includes most of the best-known artists from Kalumburu. Her mother Rosie and father Louis Karadada were carvers and painters, as was her auntie and uncle, Lily and Jack Karadada. The senior painter and lawman Alex Mingelmanganu was her maternal uncle.
About the artwork
In this painting, Regina 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.
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.