The earliest Kimberley rock paintings are naturalistic, sometimes life-size, images of animals, fish, flowers and plants, along with some human forms typically painted in mulberry and red.Outlines are drawn using long flowing brushstrokes, with head, tail and limbs receiving a solid infill of colour, while the trunk is given an uneven, irregular infill. Description and Dating Cultural Controversy Styles and Types of Rock Painting (1) Rock Markings (2) Naturalistic Animals and Hand Paintings (3) Gwion (Bradshaws) (4) Wanjina Related Articles The Kimberley region, which occupies the most northern part of Western Australia, is home to an estimated 100,000 images of Aboriginal rock art, from the Paleolithic to the Modern era.This prehistoric art includes cave painting and ancient engravings on rock faces throughout the area, dating back to the earliest time of human habitation.As a result, we have tried to avoid mention of Dr Walsh's lexicon of terms in this article, preferring to use the term "Gwion", instead.We have however prepared a separate article on "Bradshaw Rock Paintings", using Dr Walsh's classification and terminology.(Note: For the finest examples of Aboriginal finger fluting in Australia, see: Koonalda Cave Art c.18,000 BCE).Better known by the term "Bradshaws", Gwion rock art (also called "Giro Giro", "Djaeneka djaeneka" or "Kiro kiro" or "Kujon") is named after one of the Aboriginal beliefs in the Kimberley on where aborigines came from.
Andreas Lommel's work with the Unambal tribe, and the more recent investigations done by Dr. Walsh, Ian Wilson, Hugh Brown, Dan Clark and Leif Thiele, Kimberley's aboriginal art is gradually becoming more and more appreciated at home and abroad.However, as in the case of Burrup Peninsula rock art to the west and Ubirr rock art to the east, most of Kimberley's ancient art remains uncatalogued and undated, and the little scientific dating that has occurred has failed to pinpoint any artwork that predates the Last Glacial Maximum, around 18,000 BCE.As it is, the oldest Stone Age art in the Kimberley are cupules, dated to 17,000 BCE, and a Bradshaw tassel painting dated to at least 15,500 BCE.This style of painting is characterized by groups of thin, static, dressed, stick-like figures, with headdresses, barbed spears and spearthrowers, which are meticulously painted in red and orange, with lightly applied white and yellow hues, creating the impression of unpainted sections.
The idiom is believed to be a response to rising sea levels and changes in environment.
Finally, we note in passing that, despite Walsh's international reputation as one of the leading authorities on aboriginal art, Wikipedia has been unable to compile a biography of him. In simple terms, there are two major traditions of rock art found in the Kimberley region of Western Australia: Gwion paintings (previously known as "Bradshaws") and Wanjina paintings.