William Barak<br/>
<em>Figures in possum skin cloaks</em> 1898 <!-- (recto) --><br />

pencil, wash, charcoal solution, gouache and earth pigments on paper<br />
57.0 x 88.8 cm (image and sheet)<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Purchased, 1962<br />
1215A-5<br />


Remembering Barak

Free entry

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square

Robert Raynor Gallery, Level G, Indigenous Art (Gallery 2)

15 Aug 03 – 19 Oct 03

The Remembering Barak exhibition commemorates the life and work of the great Ngurungaeta Barak who passed away at Coranderrk Aboriginal Station, near Healesville on 15 August 1903.

Barak said: ‘You got to know your father’s country, Yarra is my father’s country.’
‘Me no leave it, Yarra, my father’s country. There’s no mountains for me on the Murray.’

Your paintings are our ancient treasures. In the modern world you remind us of our place of belonging. Thank you Uncle for keeping the fire burning and keeping our culture alive. We should never forget who we are and where we come from. Today I walk this land in recognition and with the utmost respect for those who walked before me. Search no more Uncle, it is your time to be reunited and to rest peacefully in your place with your family.

Perhaps Barak knew that people would be writing stories about his life. Maybe he felt the need to tell his own story in his own way. These beautiful images reiterate and confirm the importance of identity and the central place of ceremony in Aboriginal society. These images should not be ignored. They are embedded with respect and integrity and represent the stories of the oldest living culture in the world.

Joy Murphy-Wandin