Figures in possum skin cloaks
- Artist/s name
- William Barak
- pencil, wash, charcoal solution, gouache and earth pigments on paper
- 57.0 x 88.8 cm (image and sheet)
- Accession Number
- Credit Line
- National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
© Public domain
- This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
- Gallery Location
- Not on display
Wurundjeri artist and Ngurungaeta (headman) left an indelible record of his culture in a corpus of 50 or so extant drawings, produced during dangerous times of traumatic social upheaval and dispossession for his people.
Figures in possum skin cloaks 1898 shows men engaged in a ceremonial procession. Though the patterns Barak depicts on their cloaks are reminiscent of the marks carved and burned into Aboriginal artifacts, his viewpoint is striking and unusual. As we view the men from behind, we are witness to the patterns on their cloaks that are similar to those carved and burned into Victorian broad shields. These designs are worn as markers of identity, and are firmly linked to the paen (freshwater) of Barak’s father’s Yarra country.