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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

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4

Audio recording in box of interveiw with Butcher Joe Nangan regarding his sketchbook

2001.0038.0003

Audio recording in box of interveiw with Butcher Joe Nangan regarding his sketchbook

Object information

Description

Interview between Butcher Joe Nangan and Joan (surname unknown) about the drawings in the sketchbook and the loose drawing in the collection. Joan also asks Nangan about the creation story of his people. It difficult to understand in parts because of background noise. The remainder of the tape was previously used for Christian sermons.

Physical description

A reel of magnetic audio tape wound on a circular, clear plastic spool, within a rectangular plastic box. The audio tape is described in technical specifications printed on the back cover of the box as '600 FEET'. A cream coloured sticker is adhered to the plastic spool, and has handwritten text in red and black pen '... / CORROB / RECORDS'. The plastic box is cream with a printed adhesive sticker with a black and red tartan design for 'Scotch / BRAND / recording tape', and is hinged at the side. An adhesive label on the front of the box has hanwritten text in blue pen which reads in part '..."STORIES" ... BUTCHER / JOE NANGAN ...'.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of a sketchbook of thirteen drawings, one loose drawing, two reel tapes and documentation associated with the drawings. The drawings depict the traditional law and stories of the Nyikina people of Western Australia and were created by Butcher Joe Nangan (c.1902-1989). The tapes record Nangan's 'Mayarda' (Pelican) dance and a January 1972 interview with Nangan about the stories illustrated in ten of the drawings. The stories associated with the other four drawings are related in notes that accompanied the sketchbook.

Joe Nangan became known as 'Butcher Joe' after he worked as a butcher at the Beagle Bay Mission, 180 km north of Broome, in the 1930s. He began to create art in the 1950s, when he started to engrave pearl shells and boab nuts. These were eagerly sought after by tourists and ethnographers. His works on paper only became known from the 1970s as contemporary Aboriginal art gained a national audience. His work was motivated by a concern to record the traditional law and stories of his people, as much cultural knowledge had been lost during his lifetime because of the massive disruption caused by settlement.

Object information

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