Barak, William, William Barak
  • Artist
    William Barak
  • Title
    Barak, William
  • Date of Production
    circa 1895
  • Medium
    Ochres, watercolourm and pencil
  • Dimensions
    56.3 x 78.7 cm (irregular)
  • Credit Details
    Gift of Mrs Anne Fraser Bon, 1934

William Barak

Barak, William

Born at Yarra Glen in Victoria, William Barak, a member of the Wurundjeri clan of the Woiwurung people, is said to have witnessed the signing of John Batman's Treaty with the Aboriginal people. An authority on the tribal lore of his people, Barak had no formal art training in the European sense but he produced a number of works in charcoal and ochre of items and activities considered to be important to the Aboriginal people such as this corroborree.

In 2003, Joy Murphy Wandin, in her acknowledgement of her Uncle's work at the exhibition Remembering Barak, referred to "the men and women dressed in traditional possum skin cloaks…, the young men performing dance using boomerangs, the two fires representing the "table" of decision (and) the importance and place of animals…..". This reference could well have been to Ceremony as it contains all the elements that she describes. This work - the earliest by an indigenous artist to enter this collection - was given to the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery by Anne Fraser Bon, one of Barak's closest European friends.