Barak, William (1824-1903; Australian)
Untitled [Aboriginal ceremony, with wallaby and emu] (c.1880s)
Brown ochre and charcoal on cardboard, 73.0 x 56.0 cm
Donated by John Mather, 1895 (probably)

State Library of Victoria (H29641)

This work is catalogued by the SLV as accessioned in 1967, but it seems inherently likely that it was one of the pair of Barak paintings recorded as donated to the Melbourne collection by local painter John Mather in 1895: see now Barak Untitled [Aboriginal ceremony] {1895} SLV [PA].

Carol Cooper, in the Remembering Barak exhibition catalogue (2003), notes that the animals shown in the present work appear to be totemic, alluding to representations of them in aboriginal dances and ceremonies, as recorded for example in Howitt’s Native Tribes of Southeast Australia (1904).


Not listed in AR 1895 or NGV 1905 

The SLV catalogues this work (also numbered LT 995) as accessioned in 1967, and dates it to c.1880-c.1890, adding exhibition details from 2003 onwards. Howitt’s reference to animals in relation to rituals is cited by Carol Cooper in Joy Murphy-Wandin & others, Remembering Barak, NGV, 2003, p.26; for the present work, see ibid., p.41