This collection of exuberant drawings offers insight into the Aboriginal culture of the Yolgnu people from Yirrkala in northern Australia.
In 1947 a group of Aboriginal leaders and artists in Yirrkala collaborated with anthropologists Ronald and Catherine Berndt to document the intricacies of their culture and history. The result was this group of crayon drawings on butcher paper. Dynamic, vivid, and unlike any other indigenous Australian art, these works are treasures that offer important keys to understanding the world of the Yolgnu— from ancestral times to first contact with anthropologists and missionaries in the 20th century.
HOWARD MORPHY is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology in the Research School of Humanities and the Arts at the Australian National University.
CARA PINCHBECK is Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.