April 2015

Meeting the Wanjinas: KFA Public Talk Wed 29 April 2015 Sydney

Anthropologist Kim Akerman gives a first-hand account of his quest to come to terms with Wanjinas – iconic Kimberley ancestral beings

Venue: Allens, Level 28, Deutsche Bank Place, Corner of Hunter and Phillip Streets, SYDNEY
Time: 6.00pm

Registration is essential.  Click here to register.

Please join us afterwards to meet Kim Akerman and KFA Directors for light refreshments.

Kim Akerman first went to the Kimberley in 1966. In his time there he met and made friends with a number of senior people in Broome and Derby and forged ties that continued for many years. In the early 1970s Kim returned to the Kimberley as an anthropologist with the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority. From 1979 until 1982 Kim worked as an anthropologist with the Kimberley Land Council and then with the Northern Land Council.

Continual fieldwork throughout the Kimberley gave Kim the opportunity to engage in his other interests including learning about the rationale and mythology associated with the rock art of the region; and the traditional material culture and technology from people who had lived in a more traditional environment.

Akerman brings to this lecture personal insights in his quest to come to terms with Wanjinas − iconic Kimberley ancestral beings whose spirits still pervade much of the northern Kimberley region today.

Wanjinas are perceived as beings, usually characterised by halo-like headdresses and mouthless faces with large round eyes fringed with eyelashes, set either side of an ovate nose. The cosmological significance of the Wanjina cult may, on the evidence now being discovered through recent analysis of the associated rock art, reach back 4000 years. For many people of the north and central Kimberley Wanjina art is continued as part of the fine art process and traditional owners may still ‘refresh’ their images found in clan territories.

Kim’s time is now spent processing the records of his fieldwork and making the results accessible to the relevant Aboriginal communities, appropriate institutions and others involved in Aboriginal studies. Kim is also involved with the translation of the results of anthropological research undertaken by early European anthropologists who have worked in north-western Australia

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Click here for map of location of venue


Date: 29 April

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