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Paddy Bedford, 2003

Jim Anderson

inkjet print on canvas (image: 80.0 cm x 49.5 cm)

Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford (1920/1924–2007), also known as Goowoomji or Guwumji, artist and Gija elder, was born on Bedford Downs Station, near Warmun in Western Australia. As was so for many of his contemporaries, he was given the surname Bedford based on his place of birth. As a boy and a young man, Bedford worked as a stockman on cattle stations in the district, receiving rations such as tea, flour, sugar and tobacco as wages. In 1969, following the introduction of equal rates of pay for Indigenous pastoral workers, he and many other Aboriginal people lost their jobs. Bedford and his wife were then sent to live on a mission, their three children having been taken from them. As a senior law man, he had long been involved in ceremonial painting but did not begin painting on canvas until 1997, when Jirrawun Aboriginal Arts was established. Bedford’s work drew on ancestral Dreamings, his country and historical events, including a series of paintings depicting the poisoning murders of Gija men on Bedford Downs in the 1910s. A retrospective of his paintings was held by the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007; and his work is represented in major collections here and overseas.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Patrick Corrigan AM 2013
Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2013.59

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Jim Anderson (age 66 in 2003)

Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford (age 83 in 2003)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Patrick Corrigan AM (123 portraits)

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