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A colour painting on bark featuring two turtles on a brown background with cross hatching on their bodies and black patches with white lines and red dots. On the reverse is a silver ATSIC sticker that reads 'Asset No: C- 1824' and the number '3' in a circle written with white chalk. There is also a white piece of paper with artist and painting information. The text on the paper starts 'MARAIAN CEREMONY / Painted by old Yirawala...' and relates the painting to the Maraian ceremony. It also mentions that the painter is one of the last ceremonial painters and is a 'big boss' of the tribe.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Art collection comprises 2050 artworks and other objects. The artworks - which numerically dominate the collection - were produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia. The accumulation of these artworks into a single collection has resulted from the choices and selections made during a 38 year period by a variety of staff working for the Council for Aboriginal Affairs (CAA), the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA), the Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) at the national, regional and local levels.
The collection spans the years following the 1967 referendum, when dramatic changes in the governance of Aboriginal people took place, up to 2005 when the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was dissolved. It provides a snapshot of the diversity and changes in Indigenous art and its representation which occurred during the period of its formation. The small number of 'non-art' objects in the collection is also significant in providing insights into the working of the various Commonwealth bodies involved in Indigenous affairs. As well as the significance of many of the individual pieces, the collection is also significant as a whole, as a complex artefact stemming from Australia's history of governance of Australian Indigenous peoples.
W 274mm x H 650mm x D 5mm
ATSIC branch office