Regina Karadada is a member of an important family of artists of the far northern Kimberley region, renowned for their paintings of Wandjina figures, a distinctive genre with great round faces, surrounded by a kind of halo, famous in the rock art of the area.

Her work is distinctive in that although it is similarly inspired by rock art, she presents images of a different kind, known as guion guion, commonly elongated figures that seem to bear elaborate head-dresses or wigs, and that carry ornaments, sticks, bags or weapons. These figures, known also as Bradshaws (after one of the locations in which they were studied by archaeologists) have been enormously controversial among archaeologists and ethnographers of Aboriginal art, some having argued that they are so stylistically distinctive that they must have been created by a distinctive, prehistoric, non-Aboriginal population. Though this view is not widely accepted today, it exemplifies longstanding arguments about rock arts that were formerly considered 'too sophisticated' to have been produced by the indigenous populations. Karadada's family and community are remote from the cities and institutions in which these debates took place; there is no issue for her; the imagery, though millenia old, is part of the living ancestral tradition of her people. This acquisition was presented by the Art Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation


Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne

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