The Karedada family of artists are possibly the most renowned and prolific Wanjina painters. Kim Akerman writes that, “Jack, his wife Lily (Mindildil), his brother Lewis and Lewis’ wife Rosie (Ngalirrman) were members of the Wunambal speaking peoples that occupied the North West Kimberley between the Prince Regent River and the King Edward River. Their brother Manila Karedada (Kutwit) had been one of the foremost painters of Wanjina pictures during the renaissance of North Kimberley art that occurred in the mid-1970s, The clan lands of the Karedada families lie at Cape Voltaire (Wulangku) and its primary totemic affiliation is the butcherbird (karadada). It is this bird that gives the clan its name. The Karedada patrilineal moiety affiliations are wodoi, the spotted nightjar, and the brolga, kurangkuli. The reciprocal moiety totems are the Jiringgun, the owlet nightjar and banar the bustard. These birds are the primary totemic species for Lily and Rosie.” (ibid. p.10)
“Wanjina beings are usually depicted as anthropomorphic figures, sometimes full length but also often as busts - with just head and shoulders portrayed. The head is often surrounded by one or more halo-like headdresses or by radiating ‘plumes’. The mouth is not depicted - although at least one artist, Charlie Numbulmoore, began to include mouth and teeth in the Wanjina paintings he made toward the end of his life. There is often an oval or sub-oval mark in the central chest region. Where the full body is depicted Wanjinas are often shown with a hair belt around the midriff and major joints as well as fingers and toes are indicated. Gender is not always obvious although female Wanjinas may be depicted with breasts….Wanjinas are believed to be responsible for the maintenance of the seasonal cycle - especially the Wet Season that reinvigorates the land after the drought conditions of the dry winter and early summer. Wanjinas are intimately associated with the Ungurr Rainbow Serpents. Clan leaders stimulate and encourage the Wanjinas to fulfil their roles as agents of fertility and growth by repainting their images located in the shelters in caves.” (ibid. p. 4)
Manila Karedada, his extended family and Alec Mingelmanganu, were the first painters of Wanjina on bark to have their works exhibited and sold at professional galleries in capital cities. Of the few paintings extant, nearly all were sold via the government’s gallery Aboriginal Traditional Arts in Perth in the late 1970s, with this example being sold via a Sydney gallery.
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