Aboriginal Art Centers

~Mowanjum Artists of the Kimberley~

Above:"Mowanjum Wandjinas" A collaborative piece by Donny Woolagoodja and the students of Derby District High School.

The Mowanjum Community is located about 15km out of Derby along the Gibb River Road, and is where many of the people from the Worora, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal tribes have made their home. These tribes came together early in the 20th century at Kunmunya Presbyterian Mission and the government settlement at Munja. Since 1950 they have endured many forced moves, first to Wotjulum, then to the old Mowanjum site and finally to the present day Mowanjum site.

Above:"Gyorn Gyorn" by Warren Barunga

The Wandjina is the supreme spirit being of the Wororra, Ngarinyin and Wunumbul people. Wandjina art from Mowanjum was one of the first art forms established in the Kimberley. David Mowaljarlie, a Ngarinyin man, encouraged many people to paint and set up a sales point in the Mowanjum Art Store in the 1970s.

Above:"Wandjinas" By Margaret Mungulu

About 20 years ago The Elders became worried that the future generations would forget about the Wandjinas and their true homelands, "They should build a big place out of rocks, like a cave, at Mowanjum and we should do paintings all over those rocks to teach kids about our culture..." said David Mowalijarlai.

Above:"Namararlie & His Wife" By Donny Woolagoodja

Thanks to the generosity of the Mowanjum people, the efforts of the Mowanjum elders and artists, plus many dedicated local people and businesses, this vision has become a reality. The world now has the opportunity to learn about the history, culture, beliefs and heritage of the Worora, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal tribes, through the powerful images of aboriginal art created at Mowanjum's Art & Culture Center. As the artists at Mowanjum continue to paint, the Mowanjum children are rediscovering their true beliefs and heritage, and the culture is evolving....

Above: "Four Unguds and Wandjina" By Kirsty Burgu

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