Thursday, February 12, 2009

Aboriginal Art, Part II- The Kimberley Region

In the Kimberley area, Aborigines usually paint on canvas or board. Sometimes they paint on bark like the Aboriginal artists in Arnhem Land that you read about on Tuesday.

Artists in the Kimberley area use natural colors made from natural materials, but they also use manufactured acrylic paints. This means that they can use a wide variety of colors in their paintings.

The Kimberley artists believe many of the same things that artists in Arnhem Land believe. You’ll see a lot of animals in their artwork because they believe, like Arnhem Land Aborigines, that the land was created to look like animals.

They also paint pictures that show weather such as cyclones and dust storms. These paintings don’t look like photographs, though. Sometimes artists choose to show the path a storm takes rather than the storm itself. Sometimes the artist does paint the storm, but in an abstract way.

Aborigines in the Kimberley area have a myth that is often portrayed in art from the area. According to the myth, creatures called Wandjina came out of the sea and sky and left paintings of themselves on rocks. The spirits of the Wandjina are believed to live in the places where their images appear. They were very powerful and could even control weather. Sometimes they brought good luck, but if they were made angry they could create heavy rains or floods or cyclones.

The Wandjina look human, with thick noses, long eyelashes, and halos or spiky hair. They are usually painted on a white background in yellow, red, or black.

Check out this photo gallery of people creating and enjoying artwork from the Kimberley region. See if you can find the painting of Wandjina.

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