Bruce Wungundin was born in 1952 at Mt. House Station on the Gibb River Road, a remote area of the Kimberley region in North East of Western Australia. He is of the Ngargin skin group. He is closely related to celebrated Elder artist Mick Jawalji and Bruce states that in fact his father was born on the same day as Mick.
Bruce has had no formal schooling. He “went on foot with Mum and Dad to Mornington Station, down below from Mt. House, Diamond Gorge Way”. He was still a little fella when he got to Mornington, and then went with his parents to Glen Roy Station where his father worked as a stockman.
Bruce states that his Dad “got me on a horse when I was thirteen” so that was the end of any chance of schooling, even though the Manager of the Station offered it.
Bruce worked as a stockman for many years – “drove cattle from Bedford way to Glen Roy Meatworks, then it went on a DC3 Plane to Derby”.
Bruce met up with (International Artist) Freddie Timms many years ago, whilst horse-breaking on Bow River Station, now owned by the Timms’ family. They have been friends ever since.
Despite his lack of formal education, Bruce is an excellent speaker and has been involved in many Cultural Programmes and initiatives with the Kimberley Land Council, including Aboriginal Management and Planning for Country which was focused on sharing Traditional knowledge and respecting Country.
Bruce has been painting for ten years, including works for the Yarliyil Art Centre at Halls Creek. He has resided in Halls Creek, Warmun Community and at Rugan Community (Crocodile Hole) all in the East Kimberley region.
Bruce’s style is bold, strong and imaginative, his stories are in-depth and whilst having the right to paint a huge expanse of land, both Kitja and Ngargin country, his works focus on the stories of his Ngargin heritage – he said most have been told to him by his Uncle, Mick Jawalji, who said when Bruce asked him “Go for it – they are my stories but they are also your father’s stories and his country”.