Tasmanian Landscape Memorial

Tasmanian Landscape Memorial Painting by Gary Madjibarreli

This work is a representation of European arrival in Tasmania immediately before black and white contact.

The work captures a moment in time. A normal day.

Telling the story of the Tasmanian landscape at a pivotal point in time.

Top left of painting: Crow

High on the ridge a crow ( storyteller ) can be seen alerting two indigenous inhabitants to the first sighting of a European ship entering the waterway. The crow is both a storyteller and the one who buries the bodies of the dead.

Centre of Painting: Sheep dogs of the sea

The sheep dogs of the sea herding catch into nets oblivious to the approaching vessel.

Top and bottom right of painting:

The scenes depicting the everyday communal life of their fellow tribesmen and women.

The settlement that followed was all about human survival. The survival of all parties.

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Lower left of painting: Hollow log coffin ceremony

Hollow logs are symbolic of each party involved after settlement. These represent events that came after settlement.

Individual memorials to all parties:

  1. Convicts
  1. English settlers
  1. Aborigines (seen left to right).

In creating this work there is an intent to show the normal activity of a day seemingly like any other, it represents extermination and extinction; providing the eye with those first moments of recognition and sets a scene that enhances the imagination and encourages contemplation.

Summary:

This artwork in ochres, white clay and magnesium, painted in Tasmania during a recent period of painting in residence, tells the story of the Tasmanian landscape and the memorial to all parties. It is also consistent with a broader view of Indigenous history around the world.

A story told on canvas by an indigenous artist, who is himself a tribal dancer and burial man.

Artist: Gary Madjibarreli

Tribe: Wurrkiganydar, homeland Gaarttji, North East Arnhem Land, NT Australia

Ochres,white clay, magnesium, PVA glue as a binder, on canvas.