Werrenbun Community, Jawoyn Country, NT
About The Artist
At the age of 16, Bolda was adopted by a Jawoyn family and integrated into traditional Australian Aboriginal life. Bolda was tutored by senior Jawoyn Elders, notably Jatbula, Daypilama, Barraway and Ngal-Diyorrd. Identified early as a potential Yernderr Man (keeper of cultural knowledge), instruction was intense to make up for 16 years of lost time. These Elders entrusted Bolda as one of the keepers of Jawoyn Yernderr, especially in relation to Buladermo (Sickness Country) for future generations.
Bolda began painting on canvas in 1987 under the guidance of Jatbula and Daypilama and has now achieved widespread recognition as a talented and prolific Aboriginal artist, whose works are intimately layered with authentic story and meaning. Bolda’s subjects are as vast and as significant as the ‘stone kantri’ he meticulously recreates in his highly sought-after paintings.
Using the sharpest blade of fibre from the rough spear grass native to Northern Australia, Bolda creates the finest raark (or crosshatch) that, combined with his beautifully considered and created backgrounds, brings his stories to life in mesmerising and multi-layered creations. Bolda’s paintings are always alive with important Djang (Dreaming) ancestral beings, such as the Ngaal-Warri Warri (Mermaids), Muk Muk (the wise old Owl), Bellerrk (the Gecko), Gowarra (the Echidna), and Gomung (the Heron).
Bolda’s responsibility to his family, including his children who are among the next generation Traditional Owners of Jawoyn Country, results in him sharing the hand-written story of each of his paintings on the back, which ensures that the important creative and cultural significance of each piece is shared exclusively with the buyer of each piece.