Kimberley Ochres – since 1990

Aboriginal people throughout Australia have always used ochre for ceremonial body painting, rock art and artefacts. The artists of the Kimberley region of Western Australia have carried on the tradition, progressing to produce their ochre works on canvas.

Ochre colours in the Kimberley region are red, black, yellow, brown and white. Artists are able to blend these pigments to make all the other colours required for their paintings. Some ochre is heated, with varying temperatures resulting in greater depths of colour. Once ground and prepared, the ochre is mixed with a binder and the artist is ready to commence painting. In the early days, before commercial binders were available, painters used many natural binders such as garliwun (tree resin), bush honey, egg yolk and kangaroo blood. The thickness of the ochre used is dependent upon the desired result of the artwork. Some artists favour thick palette ochre showing a great deal of grain, others prefer a finely powdered ochre to achieve a more translucent effect.

This exhibition features artworks from the Kimberley region of Western Australia produced over a period of 25 years. You will see a variety of work using different shades of the traditional colours, varying painting techniques and subjects. The earliest painting featured was created by Jack Britten in 1990, commissioned by Vivien Anderson before Warmun Arts was established in 1998.

Featured Artists

Mabel Juli,  Private: Jack Yalatji Britten (c.1921-2002),  Freddie Timms (1944-2017),  Queenie McKenzie (c.1915-1998),  Shirley Purdie,  Private: Betty Carrington (1944-2022),  Jack Dale (c.1922-2013),  Billy Duncan,  Mignonette Jamin (1932-2010),  Churchill Cann (c.1944-2016),  Peggy Griffiths,  Mary Teresa Tailor (1939-2018),