Print published by Jirrawun Arts
Collaborator: Leon Stainer
Printer: Dian Darmansjah
Northern Editions, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT
Cooee Art, Sydney, NSW
There are many places called ‘Fish Hole’ in the East Kimberley, all good fishing spots. This is one of two places with that English name, painted by Paddy Bedford. Merrewoon is a deep permanent water hole on the upper reaches of the Ord River. It was formed when an ancestral Turtle was walking along the course of the river, stabbing the ground looking for water. She was carrying the body of her grandson the ancestral Crocodile, after he had been killed by the ancestral bat. The turtle tried for water at many places along the river bed, but found only small water holes. When she reached Merrewoon, and stabbed the ground there, a very large amount of water spurted out forming the present day waterhole. At each place along the river, when the turtle wanted to try for water with her digging stick she would place the body of the crocodile on the bank. At each place, Jawarlaliny the Shaky Paw Lizard came along pretending the cry over the body. He lied “I am chasing away the flies.” He was really eating the fat from the crocodile’s armpit. At Merrewoon the three of them spoke to each other. The crocodile said “I will be a crocodile floating in the water for good.” The turtle said “I will be a turtle forever.” The shaky paw lizard said “I will be a lizard.” There are still large numbers of fresh water crocodiles at Merrewoon today. The shaky paw lizard became a big rock at the edge of the water hole.
Paddy Bedford was born at Bedford Downs Station in east Kimberley, WA. He is a senior Gija lawman, renowned in his youth for his dancing and fighting skills. He had a solo exhibition at William Mora Galleries, Melbourne, in 1998, which was the same year he began painting. He is represented in major public art collections, including at the Art Gallery of NSW.Share