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Rammey Ramsey paints his country in bright colour
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I'm reading
Rammey Ramsey paints his country in bright colour
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Rammey Ramsey paints his country in bright colour
Pass it on
Pass it on
A lot of blokes like my painting I reckon.
Conversations
11 August 2015

Rammey Ramsey paints his country in bright colour

Chris Griffiths and Desma Juli on Rammey Ramsey

Rammey was once a legendary stockman. These days he spends his time painting country, his Australia. Rammey’s first language is Gija, a Jarrakan language from the east Kimberley. Rammey’s second language and the first language of his children and grandchildren is Kimberley Kriol. It is a language that combines features of both English and the Aboriginal languages of the area.

Some Kriol words from Rammey’s interview are explained below:

bin is a past tense marker

bat indicates that the action being spoken about is continuous or habitual

la translates to mean at, in, through or on

This story originally ran in issue #44 of Dumbo Feather

Discussed in this Story

Firstly old fella, you can say your name and how old you are.

Rammey Ramsey.

And how old you are.

Well I don’t know, doctor bin tell me about 1933.

You bin born?

Yeah I bin born in Greenvale. Down the back, la that back country.

And you know when you paint, what time you bin start painting?

Long time ago. I don’t know what time, well over twenty years now.

And when you paint, where you do your painting?

I paint here, in my home. I call the art centre [Warmun Art Centre], get some boards and bring it back and do painting here. And when I finish I take it back.

And you know how you paint, what you paint about?

Country. Country from my mother, father country. That’s why I do that country mine.

And when you paint, how that make you feel inside?

Good, that’s why I painting all the time you know. For country.

You happy when you paint?

Yeah, I like to painting all the time. I still painting.

This story originally ran in issue #44 of Dumbo Feather

This story originally ran in issue #44 of Dumbo Feather

And when you paint country, who bin tell you all them story? Who bin tell you all them story you paint em bat?

The old people. My mate used to be paint for Jirrawun. He passed away, old Paddy Bedford. Old Paddy Bedford was with Tony Oliver all the time. In Kununurra that’s where we bin painting. And after that, that big building they bin put em in Wyndham and everybody bin shift down there. I bin stay there for good me, do painting. Until that building closed down. After that I had no more job, one lady named Michelle and his husband Quentin they bin bring me here. And [Warmun] Art Centre asked this mob here if I can get a job there. They told me yeah you can get a job here if you want to painting. And I bin get a job and I’m still painting here.

What you wanna say la all the gardiya, to make them understand why you paint?

Well I painting, that’s all I do painting. They sell all the board down in Sydney and Melbourne and I get the money back. A lot of blokes like my painting I reckon.

Why you like to paint in them [acrylic] colour you use all the time? You like painting in them colour you use all the time you know.

He good.

You don’t like em mawoondoo [ochre]? [Laughs.]

Too nuisance that one! [Laughs.] They’ll be–everything. Brush and paint. I keep the kids away. They might waste paint.

What make you happy?

Well make me happy when I do painting you know. Rather than do nothing. Gotta move around. That’s why I live good see. Painting keep me up, good, happy. Do painting.

And he make you remember the old days when you paint? You think about the old times when you bin young fella? When you bin little one?

Yeah. I was a stockman. Riding horse. Muster everywhere la this country.

So you might say, what the old people bin teach you, you tryin a teach us now, through your boards eh?

Well I bin started painting, before I bin painting them proper old people bin tell me this story you know, for the country. I was only young you know. All the old people bin tell me for my country. That’s why I bin started painting see, those old time people you know. Like old Paddy was there, old Paddy Bedford–me and him see. He’s the old fella bin tell me story, before you know. That’s all. I bin start off painting.

I want more things that inspire me to...

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