See what's on at the

Browse What's On

– Highlights

highlight
Special Event

SOLD OUT: ARTBAR

Today, 7.00pm, MCA

highlight
Exhibition

MCA Collection: Luminous

09 Mar - 08 Jun

highlight
Exhibition

Light Show

16 Apr - 05 Jul

Create and Learn at the

All Learning Programs

– Learning Events

highlight
Workshop

Art and Technology in the Classroom

04 Jun, 2.00pm

highlight
Talk

Exchange Series Talk

18 Jun, 11.00am, Creative Studios National Centre for Creative Learning

highlight
Workshop

Creative Connections #1

22 Jun, 9.00am, Creative Studios National Centre for Creative Learning

Find out more about the

About the MCA

– News from inside the MCA

Getting articulate at Light Show

MCA Articulate lets visitors to Light Show respond to artworks in the exhibition. more

Light Perspectives: Christoper Esber

A Light Show blog series to find out how light is used in professional creative practices. This week we hear from Australian Fashion Designer Christopher Esber. more

Reflecting on the Blacktown Native Institution Artist Camps

'History is never static: it lives on through the people and communities that it has shaped, and it is shaped in turn by the telling of it.’ more

View the Collection

Browse Collection

– Spotlights from the collection online

highlight
Volume One: MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection on display

highlight
Remain in Light: Photography from the MCA Collections

On tour until October 2015

highlight
ARTIST INTERVIEW

Watch our latest artist interview with Khaled Sabsabi

Paddy Bedford

Camel Gap 2004

Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, 2012

ochres and pigment on linen

H 150 W 180 D 20cm

About the Artwork

Paddy Bedford was a senior Gija artist and lawman who was known to family, close friends and kin by his traditional name Nyunkuny or his nickname Goowoomji/Kuwumji. Although he painted for ceremony all his life Bedford only started painting for exhibition in 1998 at the invitation of close friend and fellow artist Freddy Timms and Tony Oliver, manager of Jirawun Arts Centre at the time.

Bedford developed his own painting style that remained true to the highly recognisable ‘East Kimberley’ or ‘Turkey Creek’ style that emerged in the late 1970s inspired by the landscape, stories and colours of north Western Australia. Until the time of his passing in 2007, he continued to experiment with form and pictorial convention, combining large expanses of colour and dotted edging more commonly seen in the rounded forms of early pioneers of the Turkey Creek painting style such as Rover Thomas and Paddy Jaminji, and the fluid lines of Queenie McKenzie. Bedford explored the rich history of his Country and the important stories that have mapped its past, painting the bones of the landscape with waterholes, stock yards, roads and Country that he traversed all of his life.
Camel Gap is an important artwork that documents the development of the artist’s professional practice. To Gija people Camel Gap is also known as Gernawarliyan. It is a story from his Mother’s Country that illustrates the shared recent history of Gija and non-Aboriginal people. The site is located south of Martie’s Bore in the East Kimberley, north Western Australia. It is connected to an ngarranggarni (Dreamtime) story of the goanna Garndoowoolany who camped out there. Garndoowoolany called out to Marranyi, the dingo, whom he saw at the top of the hill. It was here that Marranyi got stuck and became part of the rock. The reason behind the name of this place is twofold. It highlights the early history of the Afghan cameleers who travelled from the port at Wyndham South to remote Kimberley communities and further afield for trade. The hill also evokes the features of a camel.

Bedford painted with a deep sense of cultural responsibility. Throughout much of his professional practice this respected senior Gija artist and lawman painted stories from either his Father’s Country or his Mother’s and Uncle’s Country.
In 2006, the MCA honoured this important artist with a solo exhibition of over 50 works that toured nationally to Perth, Bendigo and Brisbane. The exhibition highlighted not only Bedford’s command for painting and the development of this impressive body of work, but also the history of his country and the three significant sites he was major custodian of: Emu Dreaming, Bush Turkey Dreaming and Cockatoo Dreaming.

References

Keith Munro, Statement of significance, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012

Paddy Bedford

– About the artist

b.Circa 1922 d.2007

Paddy Bedford is one of Australia’s most respected painters, whose dynamic and prolific artistic output belies his relatively recent introduction to painting for exhibition in 1998.

Learn more

– View also

All
Works

Related Exhibitions

In the Shop