Wangkatjungka Aboriginal Art
A selection of paintings showing the styles from this Aboriginal art region - some paintings may still be available for sale, while some may have been sold.
Wangkatjungka is a remote Aboriginal community situated 120 km south-east of Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is located on land excised from Christmas Creek Station, and is a settlement of predominantly Wangkatjungka speaking people.
Many of the older Aboriginal artists in the Community grew up in their ancestral lands in the Great Sandy Desert. Beginning in 1906 the Canning Stock Route was forged through the heart of their country, and this had a major impact on their lives. By the 1920s and 1930s many Aboriginal people had moved towards the cattle station country further north, and the last wave of migrations out of the desert happened by the early 1950’s. Many older people came as children with their families, and subsequently began work on the cattle stations in the area.
Christmas Creek Station was historically a gathering place for law ceremony and cultural meetings over the wet season. The community at Wangkatjungka was built there during the 1970s, and Aboriginal art began there in the early 1990s as a means of recording stories and culture. From this starting point a distinctive group of painters has emerged, with stylistic links to Fitzroy Crossing and Balgo, as well as to other Wangkatjungka-speaking Kimberley artists who worked in ochre pigment, including Rover Thomas and Billy Thomas.
Aboriginal art has become an important means for Wangkatjungka people to gain financial independence and to preserve and pass on their culture. They continue to paint the sites and waterholes they left behind in the Great Sandy Desert, sites for which they still maintain ritual obligations and custodianship.
Their individual paintings depict the intimate relationship that each artist has with the places that are part of their ancestral history and Dreaming, while the large collaborative canvases are like rich, mosaic maps that sing the inter-related sites of their desert homelands. Unlike Aboriginal artists from other desert communities who are mixed clans, the Wangkatjungka artists are mainly neighbours from the desert with common language and cultural traditions.
Further information is available on exhibiting artists on the following links
Penny K Lyons