Gordon Barunga was born in Derby in 1961. He grew up at Mowanjum Community. His father was the well-known Kimberley leader, Albert Barunga, and his mother, Pudja Barunga, was a painter. When Gordon was quite young his father passed away and his mother, who was from the Wunumbul people, raised him. Being the youngest child, Gordon was very close to his mother.
Gordon remembers the old people painting on boards and bark, telling the children the Wandjina stories. This was very important as the Wororra had been moved off their traditional lands to Mowanjum in the 1950s. Before he began painting, Gordon worked at a number of Kimberley stations, including Pantijan and Christmas Creek, and he worked at One Arm Point. His strong connection to his parents' countries is reflected in his painting. He loves to paint Pantijan country, having lived there for some time and because it was special to his mother.
Gordon Barunga paints in natural ochres and his work is typified by fine brushstrokes, indicating the rain falling as a result of the power of the Wandjinas. His work is both sensitive and strong, reflecting the beliefs inherited from his family.
Courtesy of Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre