Important Fine Art + Aboriginal Art
2 December 2015


(c.1922 – 2007)

ochres and pigment with synthetic binder on Belgian linen

150.0 x 180.0 cm

signed with initial verso upper right: PB
inscribed verso upper right: PB 6-2004-172

$120,000 – 150,000

Jirrawun Arts, Wyndham, Western Australia
Private collection, Melbourne


Storer, R., Paddy Bedford, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2006, p. 154 (illus.)

Catalogue text

Paddy Bedford’s paintings narrate the stories of his Father’s Country or his Mother’s and Uncle’s Country, combining the Dreaming stories (Ngarranggarni) of the cockatoo, bush turkey and emu with the topography of the East Kimberley. These stories frequently intersect with paintings based on accounts of the often brutal interaction between Aboriginal people and white settlers in the early years of the 20th century.

Paddy Bedford’s paintings are a combination of modern materials and traditional pictorial conventions, contemporary experience and ancient belief systems. With their large fields of flat colour edges with white dots, Bedford’s formal language is typified by a balance between bold powerful forms and harmony in composition. His art evokes rivers, roads, waterholes, rock escarpments and other features of the Kimberley landscape, reflecting the artist’s knowledge of land that he criss-crossed so many times in his former life as a stockman. Behind the subtlety and harmony of the composition exists a learned and deep knowledge of the land and its creation stories where the landscape, plants and animals were created and in which the laws governing much human behaviour were instituted.

The area known as Jinanggany by the Gija is on Cattle Creek, south of Bedford Downs Station and east of Mount King in his mother’s country. Bedford recalls that ‘this is my mother’s country. I can draw it because it is my mother’s place...the dreamtime place of my mother, grandmother and uncles who all have passed away’1. This area is characterised by rocky outcrops, sandy ground, low hills, creeks and water holes.

In 2006 Paddy Bedford was honoured with a retrospective in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney and touring exhibition. This was followed with Bedford’s first international retrospective exhibition in 2009 at the Aboriginal Art Museum Utrecht (AAMU) in the Netherlands. Since then his work has been on display at several exhibitions worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

1 Bedford, P., recorded conversation with Koford, F., in Storer, R., Paddy Bedford, Museum of Contemporary, Art, Sydney, 2006, p. 134