Three Wandjina (Rainmakers), <br>Lily Karadada (c. 1937 - )
Three Wandjina (Rainmakers), <br>Lily Karadada (c. 1937 - )

Three Wandjina (Rainmakers),
Lily Karadada (c. 1937 - )


Three Wandjina (Rainmakers)
Lily Karadada (b. 1937)

Region: Prince Regent River Area
Language Group: Woonambal
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas (stretched)
Dimensions: 117 cm (46”) x 57 cm (22 ½”)
Year: 2005

The central theme in Lily’s paintings is the important Wandjinas (sometimes shown on the same canvas as the Bradshaw figure, Igooyoorni), who hide in the caves of the Kimberley region. If people go to a cave where there are Wandjinas, they must be careful not to disturb them. They must call out properly in the correct language or the Wandjina might call up a “Big Cyclone” to blow them away. Lily usually depicts the Wandjina icon in a veil of dots representing the rain generated by the spirit, and the blood–water bond between man and nature.

In this painting, we see three Wandjina images surrounded by Lily’s inevitable bush turkeys, turtles goanna, and cave rocks. It seems that she has painted the work to achieve an overall bright and happy effect—the background color is warm and the contrast coloring of the Wandjina images and dotting details solidifying the playful mood. The long panel format enables Lily the freedom to paint a large continuous pattern indicative of the rock art in her country. Wandjina—The Rain Maker, is a spirit who created bush foods. The Wandjina is the Rainmaker creator god who descended from the Milky Way to create the earth, its people, bush food, and tribal laws. The circular area around the head represents clouds and lightning. There is no mouth for he communicates telepathically.  Ulumarra (long neck turtle), Gulnu (roots), Ungurr (rainbow snake), Kanmargu (bush yam), Namarku (mangos), Manula (eggs) and Kareyak (goanna), are all bush tucker (food) created by the Wandjina


Lily was born in her father’s country in the land of the Pitjarintjin people around the Prince Regent River, on the Mitchell Plateau, in Western Australia’s far north, where images of the Wandjina and Bradshaw figures are found in many of the caves. She learned to paint in Kulumbaru and her story, the Wandjina, was told to her by her mother. Lily’s bush-name is Mindundel, meaning ‘bubbles‘, named at birth by her father, because she was born near a bubbling spring. During WWII, teenage Lily and her husband Jack, made the long walk north to Kalumburu, where they lived in a cave in the adjacent hills for many months, waiting out the Japanese bombing raids, before moving in.

Artist History Exhibitions:

2007—Back To The Board, Coo-ee Gallery, Sydney, AUS.; Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, AUS.;
2006—Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Painters, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.;
2005—PALS Art Exhibition, Wardarnji Aboriginal Cultural Celebration, Fremantle, AUS.;
2004—Aborigènes: les couleurs du Rêve, Muséum d’Histoire naturelle, Lyon, France;
2003—Spirit Country, Matsunoyama, Hokkaido and Tokyo, Japan;
1994—Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria, AUS.;
1993—Images of Power, National Gallery of Victoria, AUS.;
1992—Broome Fringe Festival, AUS.;
1991—Aboriginal Women’s Exhibition, Art Gallery of NSW, AUS.;
1990—Balance, Brisbane, AUS.;
1988—Karnta, Touring South-East Asia;
1981—Art of the Australian Aborigine, Museum fur Volkerkunde, Leipzig, Dresden, Germany.

Selected Collections:
Artbank, Sydney, AUS.;
Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland, AUS.;
Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.;
Berndt Museum of Anthropology, University of W.A., WA, U.S.A.;
Hank Ebes Collection, Victoria, AUS.;
Art Gallery of South Australia;
Christensen Collection, Institute Museum of Victoria, AUS.;
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide, AUS.;
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, AUS.

McCulloch, A., & McCulloch, S., 1994,
The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd, St Leonards, New South Wales, AUS.;
Ryan, J., 1993, Images of Power, Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley, exhib, cat., National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.;
1991, Aboriginal Women’s Exhibition, exhib. cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, AUS.;
Stanton, J., 1989, Painting the Country: Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Kimberley Region, Western Australia, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, Western Australia. (C);
Aboriginal Artists of Western Australia, [n.d. [folios of works and biographies], Aboriginal Education Resources Unit, Western Australia.

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