Feature: The Kimberley's Art Scene

The Indigenous art of the Kimberley is unique. Encompassing powerful and strongly guarded Wandjina, prolific and enigmatic Gwion Gwion (Bradshaws), bright tropical coastal X-rays, subtle and sombre bush ochres and topographical dots of the western desert, every work sings a story about Country.

To experience it firsthand, visit some of these Aboriginal-owned cooperatives; most are accessible by 2WD.

Mowanjum Art & Culture Centre This incredible gallery, shaped like a Wandjina image, features work by Mowanjum artists. Just 4km along the Gibb River Road from Derby.

Waringarri Aboriginal Arts Centre This excellent Kununurra gallery-studio hosts local artists working with ochres in a unique abstract style. It also represents artists from Kalumburu.

Warmun Arts Between Kununurra and Halls Creek, Warmun artists create beautiful works using ochres to explore Gija identity.

Laarri Gallery This tiny not-for-profit gallery located in the back of the Yiyili community school depicts local history through interesting contemporary-style art. It's 120km west of Halls Creek and 5km from the Great Northern Hwy. Phone ahead.

Mangkaja Arts Respected Fitzroy Crossing gallery where desert and river tribes interact, producing unique acrylics, prints and baskets.

Yarliyil Gallery Great Halls Creek gallery showcasing talented local artists as well as some of the Kundat Djaru (Ringer Soak) mob.

Warlayirti Artists Centre This Balgo centre, 255km down the Tanami Rd, is a conduit for artists around the area and features bright acrylic dot-style works as well as lithographs and glass works. Phone first, before leaving the highway.

Bidyadanga Community Art Centre South of Broome, this intriguing centre brings together both desert and coastal influences in WA's largest remote community.

Nagula Jarndu Women's Resource Centre Don't miss the incredible printed fabrics at this Broome women's centre.

Marnin Studio Famous for their carved boab-nuts, the women at this Fitzroy Crossing studio also hand-print paper and silk scarves.

For more information, look up www.desertriversea.com.au and download the Kimberley Aboriginal Art Trail map, or find it in a visitor centre.

If time's short, wander through the Short St Gallery Bungalow in Hopton St Broome for a sample of the different Kimberley styles.