Kevin and his wife, Bernadette, live at Kalumburu. They have been married for over 30 years and have seven children, the three eldest showing the talent of their father. Bernadette is also well known for her artefacts – her bush buckets made from moulded bark are collectors’ items.
Kevin was born at Wyndham, East Kimberley, WA, in 1954 and has lived most of his life at Kalumburu. He visits Kununurra quite often, for Gallery “in house” painting and of course for the Melbourne Cup and Christmas Shopping. He has travelled extensively throughout Australia and Overseas – including leading a contingent of indigenous people to Rome to visit the Vatican. When asked why he was chosen as the leader, he laughingly replied “Because if we got lost, I’m the only one cheeky enough to ask the way home”. Kevin is delightful company – he described the Colosseum as “much smaller than I expected”, then went on to compare it with an Australian Rules Football oval – he paced out the Colosseum and knew exactly how many paces that equalled as to the Football oval.
Kalumburu is a beautiful spot on the coast in the far north of the East Kimberley – famous for fishing, mudcrabs and oysters. Kevin is in charge of the radio station at Kalumburu – he broadcasts daily to the Kimberley and Pilbira region, and very often on Monday right around Australia – all via Satellite ex Broome. He is articulate and has a wonderful depth of knowledge of his culture and stories of his paintings and is very willing to share this.
Kevin’s preferred medium is ochre on canvas or bark, and his paintings depict the Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) rock art which is prolific in his country (Kwini area), combined with the Wallarwhroo, a white figure similar to but very different from the Wandjina figures, in that the Wandjina represents the Rain God – Kevin’s Wallarwhroo directs the hunters as to the best and “allowable” places for hunting and fishing – the hands in his paintings represent the places where his people are not allowed to go. The people bring the Wallarwhroo gifts in return for his direction.
The country in Kevin’s paintings of Gwion Gwion Art is from Oombulgurri to Kalumburu, including King George Sound. The Wandjina Country is from the Prince Regent area south to Mowanjum. He is very precise about these boundaries.
Kevin is one of the best known Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) artists. He has exhibited widely and his works are held in major private and corporate collections worldwide. Due to his in-depth knowledge of Gwion Gwion Art (one of the most fascinating of the rock art styles), he is often interviewed and consulted by the media and experts in this field.