Fragility & Force – Kimberley Ochre


Repainted_Wandjina_Spirit_Figure_Hand_and_Body Detail_

Image: Re-painted Wandjina Spirit Figure (Hand and Body Detail) with come-lately wild bees nest. © Remote Kimberley Rock Art site. Photo: Helen Read.

Buried and breathing throughout Kimberley, ancient ochre markings on rock physically link Australia’s spirit ancestry to the present. The tactility of Kimberley ochre, it’s wash to wedge properties and emotionally charged hues, has been used as pigment to demonstrate life’s existence – physical form or not – for longer than current Western dating processes can currently pin down.

The chase, race to document and understand Kimberley rock art burgeons, as does the intensity of interest to preserve this, our unique heritage. But the politics are explosive, just like Burrup Peninsula’s ancient engravings impending dynamite.

Meanwhile, steadily, consistently, artists living in Warrmun in East Kimberley, prepare their intimately understood ochre pigments to set down on newly primed linen surfaces. Through exhibition and sales, the artists layered wisdom and thoughtful tempo, just as quiet and present as Kimberley rock residents , seeps by visual osmosis from the Gija people’s language world out across the globe.

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