Search the Collection
Advanced Search

© Paddy Wainburranga Fordham/Licenced by Viscopy, 2017

The Bolong

Date: 1991
E fini frame.
Medium: Print on heavy weight paper.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Paddy Wainburranga Fordham
Object Name: Print
Object No: 00017990

User Terms

    A print titled 'The Bolong' by Paddy Fordham Wainburranga from Beswick Station, Northern Territory.
    Bolong is the rainbow serpent, the creator of life. It is always associated with water - the rivers and creeks, billabongs and lakes - which filled the tracks created as it travelled across the land. It is believed to bring the monsoonal wet season to the northern parts of Australia.

    Skin name: Wainburranga
    Moiety: Dhuwa
    Dreaming: Mini spirits animal (Rembarrnga mythologies)

    SignificanceThe country of the Rembarrnga people lies in the south and west of Arnhem Land. Known as stone
    country, it encompasses vast tracts of land with rough rocky hills and escarpments. Rembarrnga
    painters to an extent, reflect their environment in their paintings, which are less detailed and finely
    painted than mark-making in the paintings of artists to the north and east.
    HistoryPaddy Wainburranga inherited his unique style of painting from his father and father before him. It is the 'old style' with no concessions to the demand for decorator works. Paddy learned his culture from his father and continues it today; he is a 'cultureman' responsible for teaching singing, dancing and the law.

    He lived at Beswick Station, about 100 kilometers south east of Katherine in the Northern Territory. However, his heart was set on returning to live at Bamdibu, his birth place, deep in central Arnhem Land.
    It is from this country that the subject matter for his painting and sculpture derives: the plains spirit figures (Balang jarngalain) the Mimis and the animals and plants, are all linked to the country of his clan and language group, Rembarrnga.
    Paddy was born in the early 1930's at Bamdibu. He first saw white people as a young boy, after spending his early years living in a totally traditional way.
    During and after the second World War, the influences of the cash economy and white society, such as the Government re-settlement policy, altered the lifestyle and began a series of changes to mission settlements, government settlements and the 'back to the bush' in the 70's when Indigenous people began to re-establish homeland camps on traditional lands.
    Rembarrnga art is not easily classifiable because most artists of this group paint indistinctly individual and different ways. The most likely reason for this divergence (from the rest of Arnhem Land) is geographical: it is linked to the country.
    The Rembarrnga-speaking people own land over a vast area of southwestern and south central Arnhem Land, some of it inaccessible and therefore isolated. This has caused each small group to develop their particular traditions somewhat separately and differently. The art of the group as a whole shares common themes
    of water and stone country and spirit figures.
    Related People

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.