Russell James & Clifton Bieundurry – Nomad Two Worlds

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In keeping with my promise to prioritise (and celebrate) eminent Australian talent on this blog:  Russell James is a globally renowned photographer and film director who originally hails from Perth.  His forte is fashion and celebrity photography, though he has a penchant for natural landscapes , which is manifest in his latest multimedia project, Nomad Two Worlds.  This multi-disciplinary undertaking, conceived by James, in collaboration with indigenous artists such as Clifton Bieundurry , was inspired by the Australian reconciliation movement, initiated by prime minister Kevin Rudd’s landmark Febuary 2008 apology.

Created especially for the exhibition (22nd-29th Jan, 2009), James’s photography is blended with Bieundurry’s art – symbolic of reconciliation between cultures. The viewer is transported through the historical saga of adversity and pain suffered by indigenous Australians – in one instance expressed by the body language of a mud-caked Heidi Klum, Bieundurry’s designs adding cultural subtext.

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In other Bieundurry-James collaborations,  the important association between aboriginal life and the natural world is depicted.  (I would kill to have the triptych below on my wall).

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bio_image3Clifton Jungurrayi Bieundurry is a Walmajarri artist from the central Kimberley. His art stands apart from the often generic work of his contemporaries. I’ve yet to distill effectively in words why this is so, and perhaps that is why Clifton suceeds – he’s managed to capture the essence of his culture’s mystery, something so pure and elemental words are simply insufficient.

In his own words:

“…I feel there is a gap in interpreting Aboriginal

culture, the contemporary and the ancient, to the outside world. I

paint to fill that gap so that translation is clear and understood; not

only by non-Indigenous people but also by Indigenous people themselves.


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“So much melding of cultures and introduction of non-traditional influences

has left contemporary Indigenous people with a surface understanding of

the ‘true’ Aboriginal culture, I paint to share my knowledge of my

Culture’s strength, respect, purity and honour so that it can be

admired and inspire Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.”


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Not related to Nomad Two Worlds – I added this Russell James image (below) because of it’s similarity in style to the photography of Zena Holloway. I’m left wondering whether Russell drew inspiration from her work? Or just the natural evolution of subject and technique by like-minded professionals?

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3 responses to “Russell James & Clifton Bieundurry – Nomad Two Worlds”

  1. Gasp. These images are breathtaking. Thanks for sharing them in this post and your insights. James’ designs are reminiscent of the Native American sand art works I’ve purchased from South Dakota in the US. Very cool and soothing earth tone combination.

  2. Ladyexpat says:

    Stunning images. Impossible to choose a favorite. I can get lost in each and every one.

  3. remymoore says:

    there’s this aboriginal art gallery on bourke in melbourne … right by my uncle’s place (lane’s edge) that has some AMAZING pieces. they had this huge red piece 3 years ago that i still think about everyday. can’t wait to get some pieces when i start collecting art.

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