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An image of "They came armed with..." by Donald Friend

Donald Friend

(Australia 06 Feb 1915 – 16 Aug 1989)

"They came armed with..."
Place of origin
Media category
Materials used
pencil, pen and ink, wash on cream laid paper

34.1 x 21.4 cm

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pen and black ink "Donald. 39.".
Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust 1992
Accession number
© Reproduced with permission of the Estate of Donald Friend. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.
Not on display
Further information

During his time in London as a young artist, Donald Friend was inspired to visit West Africa and see first-hand the tribal art that was influencing contemporary European artists such as Picasso and Braque. Travelling to Nigeria in 1938, he lived for a time at Ikerre in Ekiti province where, provided with a large house and servants in the compound of the Ogoga (ruler), Friend pursued his interest in the culture of the local Yoruba people. He drew, painted, observed their customs and way of life and recorded his impressions in a detailed manuscript that he intended for publication – but which was eventually abandoned. This is one of a number of drawings that he created to accompany that text. They illustrate a range of subjects from Yoruba artefacts or early brass heads, to Benin bronzes and contemporary wood-carvings incorporated into buildings.

Bibliography (1)

Anne Gray, Art and Australia (Vol. 39, No. 3), 'Donald Friend in Nigeria', pg. 428-435, St Leonards, Mar 2002-May 2002, 432, 433. pg. 431 & 432 details influence and context of Friend's practice; pg. 435 describes the artist's Nigerian 'manuscript for which this drawing was intended as an illustration.

Exhibition history (2)

Donald Friend Retrospective 1915-1989:

A wall hanging, watercolours, drawings and oil painting by Donald Friend 1915-1989, Australian Galleries, Sydney, Paddington, 09 Mar 1992–28 Mar 1992