Rock art and crafts
For Bininj/Mungguy, art is an expression of cultural identity and connection to country. Traditional paintings with ochres are now commonly done on paper and canvas – a more sustainable practice than on bark. Didgeridoos, clap sticks, carvings and hunting tools are made from different bush timbers.
Women have a long tradition of collecting plant fibres and bush dyes which are woven into objects baskets, mats and jewellery pieces. Another increasingly popular art form is screen printing traditional and contemporary designs onto fabrics.
Gunbim (Rock art)
Kakadu's rock art (gunbim) represents one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world. More than 5,000 art sites tell of the Creation Ancestors and the changes in the landscape over thousands of years.
Mimi spirits were the first of the Creation Ancestors to paint on rock. They taught some Bininj how to paint and other Bininj learned by copying Mimi art. At the end of their journeys, some Creation Ancestors put themselves on rock walls as paintings and became djang (dreaming places). Some of these paintings are andjamun (sacred and dangerous) and can be seen only by senior men or women, others can be seen by all people.
Bininj/Mungguy artists continue to paint on bark, paper, canvas and fabric. In some cases, the act of painting puts artists in touch with their Creation Ancestors - a powerful experience.
Kakadu's rock art (gunbim) represents one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world. More than 5,000 art sites tell of the Creation Ancestors and the changes in the landscape over thousands of years. Look for naturalistic paintings of animals, for traditional x-ray art, and for paintings of the first European contact.
The act of painting is generally more important than the painting itself so many older paintings are covered by younger ones.