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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Paddy Jaminji, 1986

Martin van der Wal

inkjet print on rag paper (sheet: 42.0 cm x 29.7 cm, image: 25.3 cm x 25.3 cm)

Paddy Jaminji (Jampijin) (1912-1996), Kija artist, spent much of his life in and around his country near Bedford Downs station in Western Australia. A stockman in his youth, he was one of the first people to take up residence at Warnum, near Turkey Creek, a settlement that was established as many indigenous pastoral workers lost their jobs in the mid-1970s. In 1977, Jaminji was chiefly responsible for creating the paintings used in the first Kurirr Kurirr (Krill Krill) ceremony, which arose out of a dream by Rover Thomas, to whom he was a classificatory uncle. Alongside Thomas, he pioneered what is now known as the East Kimberly School of painting, often featuring big blocks of single colour, outlined with round white dots, rounded hill shapes and stylised boab trees. He usually painted on board, but sometimes used canvas and made sculptures. From the mid-1980s, as his nephew’s fame eclipsed his own, increasing blindness put a stop to Jaminji’s career. His work was exhibited in The Continuing Tradition (1989), Images of Power (1993), Aratjara (1993-4) and Roads Cross (1994), the latter a Rover Thomas retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia. The Holmes à Court Gallery, Perth, staged the retrospective Paddy Jaminji in late 2004.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2005

Accession number: 2005.61.7

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Martin van der Wal (age 33 in 1986)

Paddy Jaminji (Jampin) (age 74 in 1986)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham), 1986 Martin van der Wal
Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham), 1986 Martin van der Wal
Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham), 1986 Martin van der Wal
Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham), 1986 Martin van der Wal

Big shots

Magazine article by Djon Mundine OAM, 2017

Djon Mundine OAM brings poignant memory and context to Martin van der Wal’s 1986 portrait photographs of storied Aboriginal artists.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.