FIG TREE, 1998

Important Aboriginal + Oceanic Art
27 March 2013


(c.1922 - 2007)
FIG TREE, 1998

natural earth pigment and synthetic binder on linen

120.0 x 160.0 cm

initialled verso: PB
inscribed verso: title and Jirrawun Aboriginal Arts cat. 98.27

$50,000 - 70,000

Jirrawun Aboriginal Arts, Kununurra
Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney
Private collection, Sydney


My Mother's Country, My Father's Country:New Paintings by Paddy Bedford, Martin BrowneFine Art, Sydney, 12 September – 8 October 2000


Storer, R., Paddy Bedford, Museum ofContemporary Art, Sydney, 2006, p. 145 (illus.)

Catalogue text

Catalogued as painting PB 1998.27 in Bedford's chronological index of works, this painting dates from 1998, the first year of the artist's painting career. Depicting the country of Jamelayigoon (Fig Tree Hole), located to the north of Lerdijwaneman (Lightning Creek). The site is characterised by a river running between high cliffs and large cave on the rock face. This is the dreaming place of Woonyjoorroony (the Rock Wallaby) and along the river are waterholes that are the dreaming place of Birlinji (the red river gum).

The area is associated with Bedford's father who was born close by, at Wirndoowoon. Bedford's personal dreaming Minjiwarrany (black plum)was inherited from his father and is also associated with this place.

Stylistically, Fig Tree carries further the manner and sparseness that characterised the east Kimberley school. His use of ochre colours and bold abstract forms contained in a defined structure and articulated by an outline of minimal dotting is similar to the work of Rover Thomas and Freddie Timms. At this early stage of his works, the gold ochres of his palette predominate over brown and black. In later works, his colours evolved to incorporate softer, more delicate hues, and further changed to explore more intense colours of yellows, reds, blues and pinks.

In 2006 Paddy Bedford was honoured with a major retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and he was also one of eight Aboriginal artists commissioned to provide work for the new Musée du quai Branly in Paris.