Many good books are published about Australian art, but few change the way we see and understand it. When Andrew Sayers’ Aboriginal Artists of the Nineteenth Century appeared in September 1994, it did that. This symposium celebrates the 20th anniversary of Andrew’s book, exploring its impact and deepening and extending our understanding of its field.
Word pictures: cultural stories by William Barak
Carol discusses the life and cultural stories of artist William Barak and tries to match the words of Barak to his drawing to recognise his storytelling intent.
As the great-great-niece of William Barak, senior Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin is in a unique position to talk about his life and continue his journey through the drawings in Andrew Sayers’ book.
Introduction and Welcome to Country
A Welcome to Country by Ngunnawal elder Aunty Susan and introduction by Museum Director Mat Trinca, who invites people to reflect on the Aboriginal artists and their work that inspired Andrew’s Sayer's book, Aboriginal Artists of the Nineteenth Century.
Panga: a Paakantye draughtsman on the Paroo in the 1870s
David Hansen talks about the collections of pastoralist Frederic Bonney, including the remarkable drawings of Panga, an Indigenous station hand with traditional knowledge, whose work is a valuable record of life on the Paroo River.
Spearing fish, turtle and swan
Andrew Sayers, author of Aboriginal Artists of the Nineteenth Century, revisits how his book came into being and discusses some new questions in relation to artist Tommy McRae.
Between the lines
Warlpiri Drawings curator Melinda Hinkson discusses the portrait sketches in Andrew Sayers’ book and explains how they signify moments of intimacy and cross-cultural relationships.
‘Without the aid of a master’: the Dawn of Art drawings and their artists
Curator Philip Jones provides some background to the development of Andrew Sayers’ book and outlines new developments since the book’s publication, focusing on the Dawn of Art drawings and their artists.
Following the line: establishing south-east artists practice
Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist and independent curator Jonathan Jones discusses his research to define a wider Koori artistic movement and outlines the striking similarities between the work of artists in the nineteenth century, such as Tommy McRae, and contemporary artists, such as Roy Kennedy.