Details & Cataloguing

Aboriginal Art


Paddy Bedford Circa 1922- 2007
Inscribed ‘PB’ and bears title and Jirrawun Arts catalogue number PB CB 6 2004.37 on the reverse
Natural earth pigments and synthetic binder on composition board
80 by 100 cm
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Painted in 2004 for Jirrawun Arts, Western Australia
The Estate of Paddy Bedford
William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
The Dennis and Debra Scholl Collection, Miami


Nevada, Nevada Museum of Art, No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting, 13 February to 13 May 2015, and additional venues:
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, 20 June to 16 August 2015
Pérez Art Museum, Miami, 17 September 2015 to 3 January 2016
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, 18 January to 15 May 2016
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, New York, 9 June to 14 August 2016


Linda Michael (ed.), Paddy Bedford, exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2006, p.162 (illus.)
Henry F. Skerritt, ed. et al, No Boundaries: Australian Aboriginal Contemporary Abstract Painting, Prestel Verlag, Munich-London-New York, 2014, p.39 (illus.)

Catalogue Note

The ongoing relationship between the old and the new, between past modes of artistic expression and current methods is evident in Merrmerrji, 2004. In 1998, Paddy Bedford’s first public works were painted on sheets of board that found their genesis in the timber panels carried across the shoulders by participants in eastern Kimberley ceremonies, such as Rover Thomas’s Gurirr Gurirr ritual. Bedford soon moved on to painting on a larger scale on canvas, however in 2002 he returned to painting on board as well. The boards are on a portable scale, that, as with those carried in ceremony, tell only ‘part of the story’ due to the fact that in the ceremonial context, the ancestral or historical narrative to which the images painted on the boards allude, is elaborated through the associated choreography and song. Typical of the East Kimberley style, paintings tend to have a visual and physical tactility created by the mixture of sand or grit and paint. Paddy Bedford would often mix marble dust with pink ochre to lend his paintings a haptic quality, as in Merrmerrji, 2004. Merrmerrji, also known as Queensland Creek, lies in the northern tracts of Paddy Bedford’s traditional lands in his father’s country.


Aboriginal Art