Buy collectable artworks backed by comprehensive market information and impeccable provenance

Available Artworks

Lily Karadada

Wandjina - 2002

natural earth pigments on Belgian linen
120.0 x 160.0 cm
EST. $8,000 - $12,000

MP #454


Narrangunny Art Traders, WA Cat No. N-2160-LK
Cooee Art Gallery, NSW Cat No. 9926
Private Collection, NSW


Lily Karadada - The last of the great Wandjina painters, April 2011, Cooee Art Gallery, NSW

Widely regarded as the last of the great Wandjina painters from the Kimberley in north west Australia, Lily Karedada was born near the Prince Regent River surrounded by caves and rock galleries. Here it is believed that during the creation period the Wandjina lay down leaving their life giving essence in the caves as they returned to their home in the clouds. Wandjina bring the monsoon rains and fertility to the land. They are usually shown either in groups or surrounded by associated totemic species. Always depicted frontally, their large eyes dominate in a mouthless face, sometimes on top of a simple robe-like body. Radiating lines around the eyes or in a halo around the head represent the lightning that heralds a storm. The first lightning strike renders their mouths tightly closed. If their mouths were left open, we are told, it would rain incessantly, carrying everything away in a torrent.


The earliest transfer of these images from rock to bark was at the request of early missionaries and explorers during the 1930s. Lily’s Wanambal people were displaced from their traditional lands. Their way of life, including the regular re-touching of the rock images and conveying of stories by tribal elders was forbidden by missionaries.

When Kimberley art first found its way to the market during the 1970s under the guidance Mary Macha, Lily and her husband Jack Karedada participated in the first exhibition in Perth. Bringing this unique tradition to public attention ensured its survival. The assimilation of sacred elements into the secular did not detract from its numinous character, nor its ability to mesmerise an audience. Lily’s refined style is full of subtle variations in tone. Her figures are outlined and rendered with the distinctive pointy shoulders of her particular cave area and often emerge from a veil of rain-like dots. They are accompanied by animal spirits, beautifully captured and uncluttered in character.