Tapestry panel titled 'And Now Exploration and Settlement are Underway', designed by artist Murray Walker. This triptych incorporates the work of three Aboriginal artists - 19th century artists William Barak and Tommy Barnes from south-eastern Australia and an unnamed artist from Groote Eyelandt, northern Australia, who painted on bark in the 1930s and 1940s. It depicts cultural interaction between Indigenous people, settlers and visitors to Australia. It is the fourth panel of ten in the Federation Tapestry Suite woven by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop (known as the Australian Tapestry Workshop since 2010), to mark the Centenary of Federation in 2001.

The two known artists in this tapestry, William Barak and Tommy Barnes (also known as Tommy McRae), were important leaders of their people who, through their work, helped build bridges between the European settlers and Aboriginal people in the second half of the 19th century. The Groote Eyelandt bark painting portrays a traditional way of life and depict contact with Indonesian fishermen who have been coming to northern Australia since the 17th century to collect Trepang (an edible sea slug).

The small fragile original art works were enlarged to the scale of the tapestry panel and then woven in their entirety so that they could be read as distinct components of the panel.

Physical Description

Rectangular tapestry divided into three sections. The left and right panels are orange in colour and feature images of Aboriginal people on the left, some holding boomerangs, and ships, canoes and animals on the right side. The images are coloured black, red, light blue, white and dark yellow. The centre section is mid-blue with black line drawings of Aboriginal people holding boomerangs, two Europeans, a house, tree and hunting scenes. There is an inscription woven in the upper right corner.

More Information