Gordon Barunga

Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre

Gordon was born in Derby in 1961, and grew up at Mowanjum Community, 10kms from Derby in the West Kimberley of Western Australia. He is the youngest son of well-known Kimberley leader Albert Barunga [dec] and painter Pudja Barunga [dec].

Gordon has worked at a number of Kimberley stations, including Pantijan, and Christmas Creek, and worked at One Arm Point, before starting to paint.

Gordon’s mother was from the Wunumbul people, and he was very close to her, being the youngest boy. His father passed away when he was young, so Pudja raised him.

His strong connection to his parent’s Countries is reflected in his painting. He paints the sites he visited as a child, and the stories he was told as a young boy. He loves to paint Pantijan country, as he lived there for some time, and it was special to his mother.

Gordon remembers the old people painting on boards and bark, and telling the children all of the Wandjina stories. This was very important as the Worrorra had been moved off their traditional lands in the 1950s down to Mowanjum.

Gordon primarily paints with acrylics but also uses natural ochre. His work is typified by fine brushstrokes, indicating the rain falling as a result of the power of the Wandjina, and is equally sensitive and strong, reflecting the deep beliefs inherited from his family.