Madge Bowen




About Artist:
Madge belongs to the Gamba Gamba group from HopeVale, Cape York, recognised for their distinctive bold contemporary styles. The artwork these 'old ladies' create are living story lines of traditional Guugu Yimmithirr Warra culture. Stories of traditional family kinship systems, sacred sites, ancestors and totems that have been passed on through generations are now retold in their own unique contemporary style.

Each Gamba possesses her own individual storytelling style These ladies are responsible for the intergenerational sharing of Guugu Yimithirr culture within their community. Combined, the Gamba Gambas are great grandmothers and grandmothers to over 100 children in the HopeVale Community and they take their roles as cultural keepers extremely seriously. Their art does not just represent topographc or totemic design but also ensures the sacred and metaphysical realms of their country and culture are preserved through this contemporary method of storytelling.


Artist Statement from Madge:

"My tribal land is Bulgan (Kings Plains). My mother's family lived there in the early days and lived on whatever food they hunted for. They were contented with what they had and they happily lived a simple life. The lagoons had plenty of wild life including the dukals (albino freshwaer turtles). The kunarw (kangaroo) and burrwi (emu) lived on the plains. The lagoons have pink water lilies. My paintings are based on my mother's traditional land on which she lived. My mother passed away when I was eight, and I was sent to live in HopeVale. My paintings are a memory of my family. The plains, the lagoons, the wildlife and the lilies are all still there today."