Petrina Bedford Australian, Ngarinyin, b. 1998


Petrina is only twenty and can claim two major Kimberley painters (now deceased) as grandparents – Nyunkuny Paddy Bedford on her father’s side and Jack Dale Mengenen on her mother’s, but already has established herself as a dedicated artist in her own right. Remarkably, she first exhibited paintings at a commercial gallery in Perth at age twelve, when three of her canvases were hung alongside the work of her maternal grandfather.

The oldest of seven girls, Petrina has Gija affiliations on her father's side and Ngarinyin on her mother's and lives at Imintji community, 230 km east of Derby alond the Gibb River Road. She was exceptionally close to her maternal grandfather, who passed away two years ago. He first encouraged her to paint as a young girl; "painting makes me sad because I think about him, I miss him a lot. But it also makes feel close to him. I think he might be proud of me now". She was clearly greatly influenced by her grandfather who, she says, took a special interest in her. At lunch, she managed to completely distract us from eating with her softly spoken yet highly expressive renditions of stories from Ngarinyin country.

Petrina uses her own style when painting, but the subjects she turns to are similar to her grandfather's; Wanjina and classical stories relevant to her family. She loves to experiment with pattern, very evident in her boab nut carving, technique at which she excels. Her painting style is looser than her carving in which her mark making, when using just a sharp pen knife, can be exceptionally detailed and precise.

Text from, "Mowanjum Daytrip," August 2015, by Philippa Jahn, Desert River Sea.