Merrmerrji - Queensland Creek, The Kimberley
Merrmerrji - Queensland Creek, The Kimberley

Paddy Bedford

c1922 - 2007 Merrmerrji - Queensland Creek, The Kimberley 2005
  • ochres on board
100 cm x 80 cm

Paddy Bedford was a senior Gija lawman born at Bedford Downs Station in the East Kimberley region. Like many indigenous artists, he lived a long life as a stockman before he looked upon the Turkey Creek elders - Rover Thomas and Paddy Jaminji - to begin painting. Bedford's first works were made with the inception of the Jirrawun Aboriginal Art Cooperative in 1997.

Merrmerrji - Queensland Creek is characteristically sparse in composition with bold forms, a rhythmic application of dotted fluid lines and a powerfully imposing colour pallete, which is gained from a wet-on-wet mixture of white and ochre pigments suspended in a fast drying acrylic medium. The effect is a pearly radiant luminosity, an ambience of the sacred.

Bedford was one of the eight Australian artists commissioned to make a work for the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris. A major retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2006, recognizing this artist as one of the great masters of contemporary indigenous art.

In 2009 his work was included in the landmark exhibition Contemporary Aboriginal Painting from Australia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

© Estate of Paddy Bedford


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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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