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Paddy Wainburranga Fordham


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

Paddy Fordham Wainburranga was born at Bandibu, between Malnjangarnak and Bulman. Wainburranga early career was as a stockman and he worked at various cattle stations from Mataranka to Victoria River Downs, Killarney and Gorrie Station. Later Wainburranga moved to Oenpelli (now called Gunbalanya) and then to Goulburn Island. After the 1962 referendum he went to Maningrida before returning to Beswick in the 1980s. It was at Beswick that Wainburranga began bark painting.

In 1989 Wainburranga won the Memorial Award for Mawalan’s oldest son (Best artwork in open media) at the 6th National Aboriginal Art Award (now known as the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award) for his piece ‘Balangialngalan Spirit’ and later in 1993 he won First Prize at the 10th National Aboriginal Art Award for his piece ‘Eagle Hawk and Crow’.

Wainburranga was one of the artists who carved and painted ‘The Aboriginal Memorial’, an installation of 200 hollow log coffins made by artists from Arnhem Land in the late 1980s and which commemorates all the indigenous people who have died as a result of European settlement. It was first displayed at the 1988 Sydney Biennale but is now on permanent display at the National Gallery of Australia.

Wainburranga’s works have been a part of numerous group exhibitions both nationally and internationally and are held in several significant collections in Australia.