‘He painted the law’: William Westall, ‘stone monuments’ and remembrance of things past in the Sir Edward Pellew Islands

John J. Bradley, Amanda J. Kearney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Early colonial expeditions were responsible for the documentation of the Australian landscape, fauna, flora and the indigenous owners of the land. Today, these documentations remain: locked in archives and hanging on the walls of museums. Visual representations reflect artistic traditions of the time and the curiosities of colonial administrations. In this article, the authors discuss a painting by the artist William Westall, who accompanied Matthew Flinders on his circumnavigation of Australia from 1802. Westall's paintings depict objects of indigenous Australian material culture that hold significance for the Yanyuwa, indigenous owners of land and sea throughout the Sir Edward Pellew Islands, Australia. These objects are of the highest value to the Yanyuwa and are linked to ceremonial practices no longer performed. By direct reference to Westall's painting and Yanyuwa ethnography, the authors examine how people conceive of this material culture as something powerful as well as the nature of re-engagements that result from triggers to memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-45
Number of pages21
JournalJOURNAL OF MATERIAL CULTURE
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Yanyuwa
  • William Westall
  • ritual stones
  • material culture
  • ethnography

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