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Paddy Fordham

DOB: 1930 – 2006
REGION: Bandibu, South Arnhem Land, NT.
LANGUAGE: Rembarrnga

Paddy Fordham born in 1930 and sadly died in 2006, is a renowned Aboriginal artist from Bandibu, South Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

Paddy lives a traditional lifestyle as a young child, where he was taught the stories of his dreaming from the male elders in his family.

Paddy later became a stockman and was a part of the “Wave Hill Station Walk Out”, where the local Indigenous peoples joined to create a moment to claim title to their sacred land.

Paddy learnt how to illustrate his dreaming from his father and started to paint seriously in the 1970’s. Paddy used his gifts as a story teller to transfer his dreaming onto bark, sculpture and later canvas.

Signature to Paddy’s work are his depictions of the ancestral Mimi Spirits who serve as protectors of the land. Paddy paints and sculpts these sacred spirits as the dreamtime story goes, that the Mimi spirits look over the land and only come out at night as they are invisible during the day.

Paddy’s works has been exhibited nationwide and in addition in 1993 Paddy won the Telecom Australia Prize.
The contrasting colour palette used by Paddy, alludes to the traditional depictions of the land as he uses natural ochers to enhance his story telling, making his works truly magical.