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Kira Kiro Spirits

From the time of the beginning – the Dreamtime – called Lalai by Kwini people,  the Kira Kiro  have been the  guardians and assistants of the Wandjina. They are good spirits and are also traditional dancers who sing about the yam and fruits that can be gathered when the wet season rains begin.  The Kira Kiro spirits taught Aboriginal people what food to hunt and gather, and how to use certain plants and trees for medicines.  They taught us how to care for the land and rivers and sea; to not waste food or cut down trees. They taught Aboriginal people about which trees are used for artefacts, where to find natural ochres, to look after rock art and sacred sites and where warriors are buried. The rocks where warriors are buried are painted with white ochre.  From generation to generation we learn the knowledge of the Kira Kiro from our warriors and elders past and present. These stories we are proud of. They were locked in our minds because we didn’t have books to keep for the younger generation. The Bradshaws or Kira Kiro figures are the worlds oldest rock art figures, even older than the Wandjina.

Name: Betty Bundamurra

Language: Worrora, Ngarinyin, Wunambal

Community: Kalumburu


Betty Bundamurra was born at Karunji station where her father was a stockman. She was born in the bush while her parents were on a walkabout. At the age of three, after the death of her mother, Betty came to Kalumburu Mission Convent where she was looked after by Ignatia Ganwalla and the nuns. She worked in the mission baking bread and at the Kalumburu school as a teaching aid. Betty has five children and eleven grand-children, and has lived happily with her family in Kalumburu. Betty is a prolific artist and has also held the position as senior arts worker at Kira Kiro Artists centre, Kalumburu, from 2012 to 201

Along with other Kalumburu community elder, she established the Kira Kiro Artists centre in 2009. Betty is a prolific artist with a unique visual expression, a storyteller and a poet.  She has also held the position of senior arts worker at Kira Kiro Artists from 2012 to 2019.

She is a graduate of the ANKA Arts-worker Extension Program and the Art Gallery of Western Australia's Desert River Sea Visual Arts Leadership program.

© the artist / art centre