Thoughts on first contact, from Duyfken: The Aboriginal Print Portfolio
This limited edition print portfolio was produced in July 2006 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Dutch-Australian relations. Sponsored by Rabobank, the portfolio was produced by the Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The title of the portfolio is drawn from the name of the first Dutch ship to land on Australian shores, the Duyfken or Little Dove. A vessel of the Dutch East India Company, the Duyfken landed on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula in March 1606 and Captain William Janszoon and his men went ashore. The portfolio is based on the notion of 'first encounters' to highlight this little known fact.
The Duyfken portfolio brings together 10 Indigenous artists from across the country with diverse art practices, resulting in an important collection of works that explore the notion of 'first encounters' in a number of ways and shed light on the exchanges that took place with a number of countries prior to colonisation.
The documentation for this print states:
"I thought of the Dutch vessels and the idea of the wooden hulls containing and protecting the sailors from the harsh environment outside. The hull, and in particular the ribs of a ship, protect the lives within, just as the ribs of an animal protect its organs. Dutch ship-building during the seventeenth century was in its prime. In contrast to this technology, the ships sailed into primeval territory. In 1621 the Leeuwin came into contact with Nyoongar boodja (land), home to the humpback whale, the southern giant petrel and of course the Nyoongar people. My research into the Dutch voyages has parallels with much of the research I have undertaken on my own people: the gathering together of pieces of information to construct a complete picture".
lithograph, black and blue ink on Velin Arches 200gsm white wove paper
40.0 x 60.0 cm platemark; 56.0 x 76.0 cm sheet
Gift of Rabobank Australia Ltd 2007
Not on display