Paintings of the Crater: The Artists


The paintings of the Crater were created by artists who are members of families known as “traditional owners” of the crater. This means that they were born in the area to families whose ancestors were tied to local water holes and birth places where they acquired the spirits that gave them life.

In painting the crater, the artists are guided by stories handed down through generations by family members. They employ inherited designs through which they assert their ancestral identity and connection to the land. The paintings include images that can be publicly discussed and others that can be seen but not discussed because their meaning is sacred and secret.

Most of the artists hail from the Sturt, Padoon, and Boomer families of the Walmajarri and Djaru tribal groupings. The older members of these families once lived in the area of the crater before moving to Billiluna, the government-run Aboriginal community near the crater, or to the more distant town of Halls Creek.

The second group of crater artists claim to have the right to paint the Crater because of their affiliation with Walmajarri or Djaru families who once roamed the crater territory. Some of these artists were born in the area while others were born in distant government-run settlements. They received their stories either from custodial families or from other families associated with the area.

Next: The Stories

Go back to the start of the exhibition: Track of the Rainbow Serpent