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After the Rescue



Wally Wilfred


01 Jan 1958 –

Language group: Wagilak, South East Arnhem Land

Alternate image of After the Rescue by Wally Wilfred
Alternate image of After the Rescue by Wally Wilfred
Alternate image of After the Rescue by Wally Wilfred
Alternate image of After the Rescue by Wally Wilfred
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Ngukurr South East Arnhem Land Northern Territory Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    mixed media
    display dimensions variable :

    a - Ayaiga, 137 x 28 x 33 cm

    b - Constable Johns on Horse, 150 x 30 x 150 cm

    c - King George, 140 x 30 x 35 cm

    d - horse

    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2021
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Wally Wilfred

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Wally Wilfred

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Art centre documentation for this work states:

    “Wally Wilfred’s new sculpture After the Rescue (2020) is oriented around the story of Ayaiga, an Alawa man who courageously rescued Mounted Police Constable William Johns from drowning in the Northern Territory’s Roper River region. In 1911, during the wet season, NT police officer Constable Johns arrested Ayaiga, also known as ‘Neighbour’ and three other Aboriginal men accused of robbing a white man’s hut. Johns shackled the four prisoners, and they began the 32-kilometre journey to Roper Bar Police Station on foot, escorted by Johnson horseback. Arriving at the flooded Wilton River, the prisoners crossed the bursting waters, but when Johns followed, his horse kicked him, and he went under. Risking his own life, Ayaiga, still in shackles, dove in and pulled Johns to safety. After saving Constable Johns, Ayaiga’s charges were dropped. News of Ayaiga’s courage travelled and in February 1912, King George V awarded him the Albert Medal for Lifesaving, the British Empire’s highest award for bravery, which was presented to Ayaiga in Darwin. These events took place amidst colonial violence in the Gulf Country –massacre, dispossession and degradation –which was the reality lived by Aboriginal peoples in the region.”

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Archie Plus, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 2020–07 Mar 2021

Other works by Wally Wilfred