Bidi Karta Werda (Path Across)

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Abstract

'Bidi Karta Werda (Path Across)' is one of Christopher Pease's most recent works based on an aquatint of a sketch, 'Panoramic View of King George's Sound, Part of the Colony of Swan River, 1834', by the 21-year-old surveyor, cartographer and topographical draughtsman Robert Dale (1812-1853). Pease's life-size painting portrays a section of Dale's panorama focused on the activity of the Minang nation members in the foreground who are returning inland from a fishing trip, followed by a 'toort' (dingo).2 Their catch is being carried by the most central figure, hanging on each side of the horizontal 'maungull' (spear), although removed in Pease's interpretation. The figure most forward in the artwork, painted in ceremonial ochre and wearing a feathered headdress, holds a spear in one hand and a firebrand in the other. This representation is one of the earliest indicators of the use of fire and the practice of continual burning of the land by Nyoongar people. The artwork has the viewer looking in a southerly direction, out over the inner harbour's small settlement of Albany and Princess Royal Harbour in the central plain. Pease's contemporary interpretation of Dale's artwork brings the past into the present conscious, highlighting Minang occupancy at King George Sound and the encroaching British settlement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-201
Number of pages3
JournalStudies in Western Australian History
Volume33
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

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