Born 1947, Wilcannia, New South Wales
Resides Broken Hill, New South Wales
Badger Bates (William Brian Bates) was brought up by his extended family and his grandmother Granny Moysey, who spoke several languages and knew many songs and stories. With his grandmother he travelled the country learning about the language, history and culture of the Paakantji people of the Darling River, or Paaka.
Badger works in linoprint, wood, emu egg and stone carving and metalwork. His art reflects the motifs, landform, animals and plants and stories of Paakantji land which includes Mutawintji and the Darling River. When he was about eight years old his grandmother started to teach him to carve emu eggs and make wooden artefacts in the traditional Paakantji style. From her he learnt to carve by ‘feeling through his fingers.’
Badger is best known for his linoprints. This is a medium he adopted when he began to carve lino with the designs he had been carving on emu eggs since he was a child. The new medium enabled him to expand the scope of the designs and present more complicated compositions. The motifs and designs used by Badger are based on the region’s rock engravings, painted and stencilled pigment art and the wavy and geometric designs carved into wooden artefacts.