Paddy Carlton

Other Spellings: Gwanbany. Other Names: Gwanbung

Paddy Carlton

Born:			1936
Died:			18-2-06
Region:			East Kimberley
Community:		Bubble Bubble
Language Bloc:		Djerag
Language:		Gajirrawoong
Social Affiliations:	Joolama subsection
Country:		Bullo River, Legune Station, NT 

Subjects and Themes:    
salt water crocodile, eagle, king brown, lightning men, rock wallabies, bush turkeys,

Artbank Australia, Sydney, NSW
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Vic
Notre Dame University Collection, Broome, WA
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT
Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, QLD
ATSIC Collection

Individual Exhibitions:
2004 Solo Exhibition, Seva Frangos Art @ Span Galleries, Melbourne, VIC
2004 Solo Exhibition, Seva Frangos Art @ Lister Calder Gallery, Perth, WA
2001 Solo Exhibition, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, VIC 

2005 Indigenous Art, Australian Embassy, Paris, France
2005 Suzanne O'Connell Art at Brisbane Art Fair, Brisbane, QLD
2003 East Kimberley Art, Short St Gallery, Broome, WA
2003 Waterhole, Grant Pirrie, Sydney, NSW
2003 Moon- One Icon Many Stories, Arthouse Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2003 Kimberley Art, Art Gallery of New south Wales, Sydney, NSW
2003 Paintings- Country from the Heart, Thornquest Gallery, Southport, QLD
2003 Joondalup Invitation Art Award, Perth, WA
2003 Collectables, Randell Art, Perth, WA
2002 Heyson Prize, Adelaide, SA
2002 Warrgearankoo, Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth, WA
2001 All About Art, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Vic
2000 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the 
	NT, Darwin
1999 East Kimberley Art Awards, Kununurra, WA
1998 Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth, WA
1997 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the 
	NT, Darwin
1997 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
1996 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the 
	NT, Darwin
1995 East Kimberley Art Award, Kununurra WA
1995 Savode Gallery
1995 Fremantle Print Award, Perth, WA
1994 Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth, WA
1994 Power of the Land- Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria, 
	Melbourne, Vic
1994 Kimberley Art, Melbourne, Vic
1994 Tandanya, Adelaide, SA
1994 Canberra Grammar School, Canberra, ACT
1994 Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
1993 Kimberley Art, Melbourne, Vic
1992 Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, Vic
1992 Images of Power, Aboriginal and of the East Kimberley, National Gallery of Victoria, 
	Melbourne, Vic
1991 Birukmarri Gallery, Fremantle, WA
1991 Aboriginal Artists, Gallery Brisbane, QLD
1990 Balance 1990, Queensland Art Gallery, QLD 

Select Bibliography:
Aboriginal Artists of Western Australia, [n.d.] - [folios of works and biographies],
Aboriginal Education Resources Unit, Western Australia. 

Ryan, J., 1993, Images of Power, Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley, exhib, cat., National
Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

 Discovery Media, Documentation Pty Ltd, and the Australian 
Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Leading artist dies

A founding member of Waringarri Aboriginal Arts in Kununurra Paddy Carlton (name used with 
permission from artist's family) has died. He was believed to be in his late 80s and passed 
away on Saturday night. He was one of the first generation artists of the East Kimberley art 
style. He was the acknowledged leader and mentor of the art centre, always leading by 
example of his commitment to a strong artistic and cultural tradition. 

Paddy Carlton was a traditional elder and senior law custodian of this region. He was the 
head stockman at Carlton Hill and Ningbing stations for many years and in his senior years 
an internationally-known artist. 

Most importantly, he was a man of extraordinary knowledge, speaking several languages and 
contributing to the maintenance of law and culture for the local Aboriginal community, as 
well as assisting in the development of cultural understanding by the broader Australian 
community, including contributions as a key advisor on native title. 

As an artist he was initially more iconic in his imagery with a style reminiscent of the 
rich tradition of rock art techniques first learnt by him as a young man during his 
initiation. His early works tell the stories of the Dreaming, Jimilwirring ( Lightning Men)
 Walajabi (the snake), Dingo, Flying Fox and the mother snake of the Dreaming - (see 
Kununurra Hospital collection). 

As with all great artists, his style evolved over the years, encompassing new ways of 
representation gained through artistic experimentation, diligent involvement and an obvious 
love of painting 'Country'. In recent years, his art revealed elegant minimal compositions 
characterized by a spare traditional ochre palette often painted on a black ground dense as 

His compositions revolve around the depiction of waterholes, hills and river systems 
occasionally heightened by areas of intense 'dotting' to indicate an area of bull-grass, a 
stand of paperbarks or swpinifex. These paintings reveal the great depth of his knowledge 
and resonate with quiet confidence and power. While Carlton's paintings have revealed his 
connection to and knowledge of extended areas of 'country' across the east Kimberley region,
it was 'Goorbadjim', the country of his beloved Bullo River that was the key imagery of 
his repertoire. 

Often sitting for a number of days before a new canvas considering and distilling his 
knowledge and memory of place, his love of painting was evident in the reverence with 
which he approached those first marks on canvas, his singing of country - just audible
 - and the poignant care with which he made each mark. With quiet composure he processed 
his extensive knowledge of country, its dreaming trails, landmarks and associated stories 
into compositions of purity and balance. 
He will be much missed.

(C) 2006 The Kimberley Echo	Pruinosa St (Cnr Victoria Hwy)
PO Box 1105, Kununurra Western Australia 6743 

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