Image courtesy Francesca Merlan

Landscapes for life

Exhibition Date

5 Apr – 13 Jul 2019

Exhibition Type

A photographic record of Wardaman people and country

Official opening Friday April 5 @6pm

These photographs of Wardaman people and country were taken over many years. Some of them date back to a cultural documentation and archaeological project which ran from 1986 to 1990 under the leadership of archaeologist Josephine Flood.

This project documented many beautiful places and rock art sites on Wardaman country including the famous `Lightning Brothers’ site.

It was Wardaman elders who facilitated this project, and guided the archaeological team. Although most of these elders are now deceased, this exhibition aims to celebrate them, and the knowledge they have shared. This is especially significant for their families, many of whom have never seen these images.

This exhibition has been developed with the advice of local Indigenous people including Wardaman elders and is curated by Francesca Merlan.

Francesca Merlan is a professor of anthropology at the Australian National University, where she has taught since 1995. She accompanied the 1988-89 documentation project, recording stories about places, living on country, and rock art sites. Francesca first worked alongside Wardaman people in Katherine in 1976, and with their help published Wardaman: A Language of the Northern Territory of Australia. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter (1994), a description of the language, stories of Wardaman people, the pastoral colonization of their home country, and their recent history.

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