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Paul Bong

Born: 1963 Language: Yidiny Region: Yidinji

Paul Bong

Paul Bong (aka Bindur Bullin), is a descendant of the Yidinji tribe who occupied the fertile rainforest lands from Cairns in the north to Babinda in the south and west into the Atherton Tablelands as far as Kairi. His ancestral history is rooted in this region. Bong's great-grandparents were both tribal elders, when all the lands were Yidinji. His father, George, also knew the traditional ways of living. He spoke the Yidinji language (Yidiny), though he wasn’t allowed to speak it when he went to school. George was forced to reject the traditional ways and to assimilate into white society. This broke the continuity of Bong's culture, language and heritage from being passed down through the generations.

Bong grew up around the Yattee area near Wright Creek in Far North Queensland. He is driven to regain the stories and culture that was lost to European settlement and to share what was lost through his work. His grandmother, who spoke Yidiny, taught Bong stories and legends about the rainforest – its bush food, animals, young warriors and special places such as Babinda Boulders and the Gordonvale Pyramid. These stories are the inspiration for many of his works. Bong incorporates traditional designs with modern techniques with each design having its own spiritual meaning.

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