Australia / Indonesia
The Yolngu/Macassan project illustrates the historic cultural, social and spiritual connection between the saltwater Yolngu people of north-eastern Arnhem Land and the Macassan and Bugis boat builders, traders and fishers of south Sulawesi in Indonesia — a rich relationship of mutual respect lasting hundreds of years, until Australian government intervention in 1906 banned their interaction. Some intrepid Yolngu even travelled to Sulawesi by boat, and there are shared genealogies and language. Works by Yolngu and Macassan artists include woven sails, bark paintings with Macassan references, a collection of ceramic pots made in Macassar and painted by Yolngu, and a large group of Larrakitj memorial poles installed in a configuration reminiscent of a Macassan perahu (boat). Co-curator and Macassan performance artist Abdi Karya (who also wrote for QAGOMA's Asia Pacific Art Papers) has been a key figure in developing the project and liaising with Indonesian artisans, and artists of the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre in Yirrkala have provided unique insights into their contemporary experience of this historic connection.
Supported by the Australian Government through the Office for the Arts.
Installation view of the APT10 Yolngu/Macassan Project, Gallery 4, QAG (full caption) / Photograph: Natasha Harth
Die2tie Studio Artisans
Dr B Marika AO
West Sulawesi Artisans
Ms M Wirrpanda