Wandjina and Gwion Gwion

Artist: Jemma Unghango


76 x 76cm, natural ochre and pigment on canvas.


The Wandjina are a god to our ancestors, they created country, people and animals before turning themselves into rock paintings. They are sometimes called “lightning man” or “rain maker” and every year they fill the water holes, creeks and rivers through making the wet season. The Wandjina can be vengeful if people break the law, by making big storms and cyclones.

Gwion Gwion (also known as Kira Kiro or Bradshaw figures) are found in rock art around Kalumburu. Some are hunters, and some are dancers, and some are the servants of the Wandjina. They didn’t have brush in the old days. Our ancestors used to draw with their hands or for paintbrushes, they would use speargrass or chew the end of bush bamboo They used to use kangaroo blood and red ochre as paint. They would mix the ochre with the red gum from the white tree.