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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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The Macassan prahu, from Duyfken: The Aboriginal Print Portfolio



Dhuwarrwarr Marika


circa 1946 -

Language group

Rirratjingu, Arnhem region


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:

"For some 300 years, until the beginning of the twentieth century, Macassan fishermen from what is now Sulawesi in Indonesia used to sail to the northern shores of Australia every monsoon season to collect sea cucumbers (trepang). They introduced metal to the Yolngu (Aboriginal people of eastern Arnhem Land) as well as words which are still in use today: the Yolngu word for 'outsider' is balanda, a variation on the word 'Hollander'. The prahu, with its distinctive sails and two rudders, is shown with its crew, the cargo of sacks of rice, trepang, and swords and axes. The background design is the Rirratjingu clan design for water".




Media category


Materials used

linocut, black ink on Velin Arches 200gsm white wove paper




40.0 x 60.0 cm blockmark; 56.0 x 76.0 cm sheet


Gift of Rabobank Australia Ltd 2007


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Dhuwarrwarr Marika

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Referenced in 2 publications


Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Duyfken, Netherlands, 2006, (colour illus.). Commemorative brochure, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Anne Virgo (Editor), Australian Print Workshop bulletin, 'Duyfken Folio', pg. 4, Fitzroy, 2007.