Paddy Fordham Wainburranga

Born: c.1932 – 2006
Region: Southern Arnhem Land
Community Centre: Jarruluk (Beswick)
Language: Rembarrnga
Local Group (clan): Mirraytja
Social Affiliations: Dhuwa moiety, Gela

Paddy Fordham was born in Arnhem Land in the early 1930’s and passed away on the 1st of June 2006.

His country is called Bamdibu near Bulman Station in the Northern Territory. Paddy started working as a boy around cattle yards, which finally led him into the career of a stock-man for 20 years. Before this, he spent much of his time hunting and learning culture and customs from his father and uncles. He can remember being taken to sacred locations where he was told many Dream-time stories of how customs came to be and why aboriginal people practice them.

Paddy’s unique depiction of the Mimi Spirit was the centre piece for most of his artwork. He often painted a dancing Mimi Man, which he says is a good Mimi. He looks over the land as a protector, and only comes out at nights. The Mimi is not visible during the day. Paddy’s works are part of many well known collections and can be seen in the Darwin and Canberra museums. Paddy travelled to Canberra for the opening of the Hollow Log memorial at the National Gallery of Australia as a tribute to all the Aborigines who had died as the result of European contact. Thirty of the two hundred poles in this installation were made by Paddy.

Medium/ Form:
Bark painting, Carving, carved and painted hollow log coffin, lithographic print, ochres on bark

Awards:
1989, Memorial Award for Mawalan’s eldest son, [Best artwork in open media] National Aboriginal Art Award, Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences, Darwin
1993, Telecom Australia Prize, $15,000 National Aboriginal Art Award, Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences, Darwin

Films:
Too many Captain Cooks (d: Penny McDonald) 1988. (C)

Collections:
Artbank, Sydney.
Berndt Museum of Anthropology, University of Western Australia.
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney.
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth.

Exhibitions:
1984, Aboriginal Art, an Exhibition Presented by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra.
1985, The Second National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1987, The Fourth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin .
1989, A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art, Westpac Gallery, Melbourne; Design Warehouse Sydney [through Lauraine Diggins Fine Art].
1989, Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
1989, The Sixth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1990, Spirit in Land, Bark Paintings from Arnhem Land, National Gallery of Victoria.
1990, Tagari Lia: My Family, Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1990 -from Australia, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, UK.
1990, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection, Harvard University, University of Minnesota, Lake Oswego Center for the Arts, United States of America.
1991, Flash Pictures, National Gallery of Australia.
1991, Australian Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
1991, The Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1992, Tyerabarrbowaryaou, I shall never become a whiteman, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
1992, The Ninth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
1992/3, New Tracks Old Land: An Exhibition of Contemporary Prints from Aboriginal Australia, touring USA.
1993, The Tenth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1993, Australian Heritage Commission National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Old Parliament House, Canberra.
1993/4, ARATJARA, Art of the First Australians, Touring: Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; Hayward Gallery, London; Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek.
1994, Tyerabarrbowaryaou 2, I shall never become a whiteman, 5th Havana Biennial, Cuba, & Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
1994, Malu Urul, National Maritime Museum, Sydney.
1994, Art of the Rainbow Snake, National Gallery of Melbourne.

Artworks

Balangjangalang Spirit - 2006
Paddy Fordham Wainburranga
  • $2,850.00