Painting history: Indigenous observations and depictions of the ‘other’ in northwestern Arnhem Land, Australia

01st December 2010

May_etal AA71 Figure11Sally K. May, Paul S.C. Taçon, Daryl Wesley and Meg Travers

In this paper we focus on contact rock paintings from three sites in northwestern Arnhem Land, Australia. In doing so we highlight that such sites provide some of the only contemporary Indigenous accounts of cross-cultural encounters that took place across northern Australia through the last 500 years. Importantly, they have the potential to inform us about the ongoing relationships that existed between different parties. The lack of research on contact rock art is emphasised and the development of a large-scale project (of which this fieldwork is part) aimed at addressing this problem is outlined. Important new findings for contact rock art are presented, including evidence for ‘traditional’ protocols relating to rock art continuing long after first contact, evidence for particular contact period subject matter dominating in art of this region, and the oldest date yet recorded for contact art in Australia.

Image caption: An aeroplane motif painted at Bald Rock in the Wellington Range, Northern Territory (published in Australian Archaeology 71:63).
Sally K. May, Paul S.C. Taçon, Daryl Wesley and Meg Travers
Painting history: Indigenous observations and depictions of the ‘other’ in northwestern Arnhem Land, Australia
Dec 2010
71
57-65
Article
You must be a member to download the attachment ( Login / Sign up )