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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


The Wati who was looking for Lasseter by Jean Burke


The Wati who was looking for Lasseter by Jean Burke

Object information


"There was a White Man. He was travelling around looking for Lasseter. He went and camped at a rockhole south of Docker River. He then went to another rockhole where he drank the water and washed his face. Some people saw him. They must have got jealous and got wild. They speared him and he finished." [Jean Burke]

Physical description

An acrylic painting on canvas showing one person being speared by another while drinking at a waterhole. There are two other people and a horse standing nearby.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of thirty-three paintings produced by Warakurna Artists for a collaborative commercial exhibition with the Outstation Gallery in Darwin. The exhibition, 'History Paintings - All the Stories got into our minds and eyes', opened in May 2011.

The collection is significant as a broad and comprehensive body of work that presents a series of (related) Aboriginal perspectives on events in Australian history, some of which fundamentally challenge other accounts in the historical record. The collection documents the historical perspective of Ngaanyatjarra people who currently reside in the community of Warakurna. Contextualised by more customary mythic narratives, most of the works address historical events and provide an insight into the Aboriginal experience of contact on the colonial frontier. Taken together, from the Seven Sisters Dreaming to football carnivals in Warakurna today, the collection encompasses 100 years (and more) of history in the Ngaanyatjarra lands.

Object information

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