South-Central Kimberley

The South-Central region is where the Kimberley meets the desert. The most well-known art centres here include Mangkaja Arts and Marnin Studio in Fitzroy Crossing, Ngurra Arts servicing the Wangkatjungka and Ngumban communities and Warlayirti Art Centre for Balgo, Mulan and Billiluna.

To a newcomer the landscape of this region shows less dramatic variation than elsewhere in the Kimberley, but is nevertheless known for the life-sustaining Fitzroy River floodplain and waterways, and the gorges and cliffs of ancient remnant ranges. The Balgo Hills are located on the northern edge of the Tanami and Great Sandy Deserts; looking south the landscape stretches out across a seemingly endless plain of spinifex and acacia.

Much of the artwork created by the people of the South-Central Kimberley references ancestral homelands in the arid desert country. As in other Kimberley regions, European incursions resulted in the displacement of most groups from these areas and their artwork is now the primary means of celebrating and sharing knowledge about the landscapes and important sites of their forebears.   

Prominent language groups within this region include Wangkatjungka, Walmajarri, Gooniyandi, Bunuba, Nyikina, Kukatja, Ngardi and Jaru languages, some of which also feature a number of dialects. Many artists within the East Kimberley have kinship relationships which extend throughout the Kimberley and well beyond their own traditional Country.