North Western Australia’s Kimberly region is the home of some of the oldest known paintings in human history. Around 65,000 years ago, our ancestors crossed from New Guinea and Timor, entering Australia. These aboriginal people drew some of the most mesmerising renditions of their everyday moments, including encounters with the wild animals and their spirit world on the ancient rock faces of the Kimberly.
Orion Expedition Cruises in association with the Art Gallery of New South Wales hopes to bring tourists to this place to experience this ancient art. Their ‘Art of Exploration’ expedition hopes to bring people to these ancient rocks of Kimberly and to appreciate this wonderful and priceless ancient aboriginal art that has ostensibly become a part of Australia’s and human history.
The expedition will bring tourists and the local artists closer to each other. There will be ample opportunity to appreciate some of the more modern forms of artistic expressionism and a chance to buy some for their own collection. This expedition will not be complete without the lectures given by specialist guest lecturers and the ancillary enhancements done by Orion’s own tour team.
Joseph Bradshaw was the first European person to have discovered the Gwion Gwion rock images, believed to be some 17,000 years old. That would put these rock images more than five times older than that of the pharaohs. In all probability these rock images could easily be as old as 50,000 years. That is enough to make them the oldest known images in human history. Some of these images at the Vansittart Bay are to be visited by the tourists travelling on the Orion.
A different type of more cotemporary art is housed on the Bigge Island, a sparsely visited but just as important destination. This island showcases ‘First Contact’ art by the local Wunambal people. Wandjina figures, images of seafaring, ‘pipe-smoking’ Europeans and sailing ships are some of the more popular renditions that abound on the rocks depicting the first contact between locals and Europeans.
This expedition will place you on the Raft Point, where you will find yourself, climbing to one of the best experiences of your life, an open air aboriginal art gallery that features the life and times of the Wandjina people, their ‘Great Fish Chase’ and depictions of mythical figures, fish, snakes and crocodiles.
This expedition will also allow you a special hosted access to the nearby art centres of Warmun and Waringarri along with the unique experience of seeing ancient art dating back quite a few millennia.
In Broome , towards the end of the journey, one can enjoy another event in which the artists from the surrounding regions are invited and their artworks are showcased.