Wossy Davey


1972. Derby, Western Australia


Bardi Jawi

Lives & Works

Ardyaloon Community, Western Australia


Russell ‘Wossy’ Davey is a proud Bardi man, with many connections, but only identifies himself as a Traditional Custodian of the Ardi’ol clan group. He lives in Ardyaloon Community on the Dampier Peninsula of the Kimberley Region in Western Australia.

Wossy’s art is inspired by his Bardi culture creating designs that incorporate Dreamtime stories of his saltwater people, continuing to tell these stories through many art forms, using colours, animals and shapes that depict his natural environment. He also carves pearl shells, boab nuts, and traditional artefacts, whilst advocating that young people are taught the old ways, keeping law, language and culture alive, so the knowledge is not lost forever.

Artist Statement

Milymilonjoon Jawal are spiritual stories from the Dreamtime when everything began.

A Long long time ago the creator gave Bardi Jawi people the law about the land, sea, wind and the clouds, and how we are all connected, through our creation stories, people became animals.

The guwan (pearl shells) represent a place of rebirth and new life for all different species of shark. This place is also a dreaming place through song and dance given by Rai. (spiritual kids).

Bardi Jawi people are the warriors of the ocean - strong saltwater people who would travel with gaalwa (raft), always carrying their garu (spears), marrga (shields) and irrigil (boomerangs) to defend and protect the tribe from Darman (bad spirits).

The call of the Indoo (bush curlew) signals a message to the people, every cry means something, and bad news is coming. The Indoo would dance, wings raised as they stamp their feet and the Bardi Jawi people would know that there has been a loss amongst the tribe. Farewelling souls as they went back to the dreaming.

“We acknowledge our Elders who have passed away, and we honor our Bardi Jawi Men and Women for holding our language, law and culture strong. We thank them for their ongoing dedication to learn, practice, and teach through song, dance and stories.

Today, we must continue the journey to uphold Bardi Jawi tradition and customs, as it makes us who we are.” (2024, Ingarlgalandij Art & Culture Hub)

Acknowledgements & Collaborators

Support team at Ingarlgalandij Art & Culture Hub:
Joseph Davey, Peter Hunter, Irene Davey, Maureen Davey, Kevin George, Gordon Davey, David Wiggan, Robert Wiggan, Aaron Davey, Jacqueline Hunter, Aggie Pigram, Fred Maru, Jacky Cheng, Belinda Cook, and Steph Rajalingam.
Boab Collectors: Patrick Davies, Kael Davies, Jedd Davies and Eric Parriman.

@iach_bardijawiarts  #bardijawiarts

Exhibiting at

Fremantle Arts Centre

FAC is a multi-arts organisation based in a historic building complex in Fremantle, Western Australia.

FAC is an IOTA24 Major Exhibition Partner.


1 Finnerty Street, Fremantle