Significance of Kimberley Rock Art
Aboriginal rock art consists of different images and symbols painted, engraved or sculpted onto rocks. These rock arts date back to at least 40,000 years ago.
Rock art can actually be found throughout the world, however Australia is one of the places that has numerous regions rich in rock art thanks to the traditional owners of our lands.
One of the major rock art landscapes is Western Australia’s Kimberley region. It spans approximately 423,500 square kilometres. A lot of the rock art in this region is in remote areas that are difficult to reach. Even the sites that are accessible can only be visited with the correct Indigenous permissions and protocols in place.
History of Rock Art in The Kimberley Region
Kimberley rock art is said to be some of the world’s oldest with evidence dating the artworks to be many thousands of years old. The sites of these rock art are very important to traditional owners in the Kimberley as they are records made by their direct ancestors. These paintings are significant to their cultures, thus many of the sites are considered sacred because of the ceremonies that have been carried out in those places.
The paintings can often provide insight into how and when people arrived in the area, about the environment when these paintings were made, glimpses into how people lived back then and what their beliefs were.
Rock Art Styles
From the study of the rock paintings in Kimberley, along with insights and information provided from the traditional owners of the area, researchers have managed to identify a few different art styles found in the rock paintings of the Kimberley region.
Some of the earliest visible Kimberley rock art paintings were dominated by large, occasionally even life-sized animals, fish, plants and human forms painted in mulberry and red.
This rock art style shows finely painted human figures that are in elaborate dressings as well as holding a range of different artefacts like spears, boomerangs, dilly bags and ornaments. The details of this art style are seen to hold complex records of aboriginal life and thought.
Aboriginal people in northern and central Kimberley identify with Wanjina, the supreme creator and symbol of fertility and rain. The paintings of Wanjina showcase the relationship the traditional owners had with their spirit ancestors and the representation in anthropomorphic form.
These are merely some of the various rock art styles found in the Kimberley region, to learn more check out Kimberley Foundation Australia.
Explore Authentic Aboriginal Art with Mbantua
Art has a very significant and profound place in the lives of Indigenous Australians. At Mbantua gallery we work with many talented Aboriginal artists from Utopia to showcase their unique and beautiful artwork.