Rufus was born in 1967 in Aurukun to Angus Namponan and Chrissie Peemuggina.
He belongs to the Apalech ceremonial group from his father’s country at Warpang, just inland from Cape Keerweer. His language groups are Wik-Alkan (father’s side) and Wik-Ngathan (mother’s side).
Rufus’s totems from his father’s side include; the Kangaroo, Bush Rat, Freshwater Shark, Spear, Small Carpet Snake, Salmon, Knee and Single-barb Hardwood Spear. On his mother’s side the Freshwater Shark, Night Owl and Salmon.
Rufus also shares totems associated with the Wik-Alkenh language group. His traditional homelands are south of Aurukun: Aayk, Kirk River and Warpang (near Cape Keer-Weer), Cape Keer-Weer which is the location of his family home.
Rufus’s mother’s country is Aayk and her language being Wik-Ngathan. Rufus’s father, Anagus Namponan was prominent Wik carver in Aurukun. Most of his sons have followed in his footsteps. Rufus’s brothers, Garry, Lex, Leigh, Bevan and Leo are established and emerging carvers and form an important core of artists within the Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.
“I started painting and carvings when I was a young man. I learnt to carve from my father. I would go and collect the stringbark bark with my father and he would paint bark paintings. I also learnt carving from my father. We carved our totems. Now days we do everything from screen printing t-shirts to painting on canvas”. Rufus Namponan