Julie DOWLING, Walyer Enlarge 1 /1

On display on Level 1

Julie DOWLING

Badimaya/Yamatji/Widi peoples

Perth, Western Australia born 1969

Walyer 2006 Place made: Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint and natural earth pigments on canvas

Dimensions: 200.0 h x 150.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2007
Accession No: NGA 2007.9
Image rights: © Julie Dowling. Licensed by Viscopy

The resistance fighter Walyer (c 1800–1831), also known as Tarenorerer, stands on a rock formation surrounded by the dense vegetation of Van Diemen’s Land. Beneath clouds heavy with atmosphere, she commands the viewer’s gaze as if we are a member of her guerrilla army. The houses in the distance signal an unwelcome European presence and Walyer, armed with both a rifle and a flintlock pistol, is poised for attack.

She wears a simple incised kangaroo-skin cloak, but its cape-like qualities allude to superhuman strength. Described as an ‘Amazon’ by G A Robinson,[1] Walyer was known for her mastery of the English language and modern weapons, both learnt when she was sold into slavery to Bass Strait sealers in her teenage years. After escaping her captors, Walyer returned to her people and amassed a band of male and female warriors who attacked the establishing colonies and other Aboriginal groups with great success. When Walyer was re-apprehended it was judged to be ‘a matter of considerable importance to the peace and tranquillity of those districts where she and her formidable coadjutors had made themselves so conspicuous in their wanton and barbarous aggression’.[2]

By examining episodes in history that privilege an Aboriginal perspective, Dowling’s portraits reveal what we as a nation choose to remember and what we force ourselves to forget. While Walyer 2006 alludes to early and violent contact between Aboriginal people and Europeans, Dowling’s interest lies in our contemporary interactions, both actual and symbolic. Transcending its historical roots, the work is reflective of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.

Stephen Gilchrist

[1] V maikutena Matson-Green, ‘Tarenorerer [Walyer] (c 1800–1831)’, C Cunneed with J Roe, B Kingston and S Garton (eds), Australian dictionary of biography, suppl vol, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2005, p 376.

[2] ibid.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

The resistance fighter Walyer (c 1800–1831), also known as Tarenorerer, stands on a rock formation surrounded by the dense vegetation of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). Against a dark backdrop of mountains and heavy clouds, she commands our gaze as if we are members of her guerrilla army. The houses in the distance signal an unwelcome European presence and Walyer, armed with a rifle and a flintlock pistol, is poised for attack.

She wears a simple incised kangaroo skin cloak, but its cape-like qualities allude to superhuman strength—she was described as an ‘Amazon’. Walyer was known for her mastery of the English language and of modern weapons—skills learnt in her teenage years when she was sold into slavery to Bass Strait sealers. After escaping her captors Walyer returned to her people and gathered a band of male and female warriors who, until her re-apprehension, attacked the colonists as well as other Aboriginal groups with great success.

By examining episodes in history that privilege an Aboriginal perspective, Julie Dowling’s portraits reveal what we as a nation choose to remember and what we force ourselves to forget. While Walyer alludes to early and violent contact between Aboriginal people and Europeans, Dowling’s interest lies in our contemporary interactions, both actual and symbolic. Transcending its historical roots, the work reflects how far we have come and how far we have to go.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014

朱莉•道林 (Julie Dowling)
《瓦力尔(Walyer)》
2006年
帆布材质,合成聚合物涂料与天然颜料
200.00(高) x 150.00(宽)厘米
2007年购买
收录号:NGA 2007.9
© 朱莉·道林。Viscopy授权。

抵抗战士瓦力尔(约1800-1831),亦名塔瑞诺莱拉(Tarenorerer),她站在岩石上,四周是范迪门之地(Van Diemen’s Land)茂密的植被;头顶密布浓云,她牢牢吸住观赏者的目光,我们好像是她的游击队员。远处的房屋发出了不欢迎欧洲人到来的信号,配有步枪和燧发手枪装备的瓦力尔泰然自若,随时准备痛击来犯之敌。

她身披简洁有锯齿状边沿的袋鼠皮斗篷,但其披风品质谕示神力。被G•A•罗宾逊(G A Robinson)1说成是“女战士”的瓦力尔因掌握了英语语言和现代武器而闻名,这两样技能是她在青少年时被卖给巴斯海峡猎海豹者做奴隶期间学会的。逃离捕捉者魔掌后,瓦力尔返回部落,召集了一支由男女勇士组成的队伍,与其他土著部落一道,他们成功袭击了建设中的殖民地。瓦力尔再次被逮捕后,当时对她的结论是“对地方和平与安宁发挥了举足轻重的作用,在那些地区,她带领骁勇善战的队伍,以势如破竹般的凌厉攻势而名声大噪”。2

通过审视赋予土著视角特权的历史事件,道林的画作揭示了我们作为国家选择记住的历史和强迫自己忘掉的历史。创作于2006年的《瓦力尔》虽然暗指了土著民和欧洲人之间的早期冲突,但道林的兴趣点在于我们现在的交流,既真实又有象征意义。作品超越了历史根源,反映了我们已经取得的进展和未来前景。

Stephen Gilchrist
斯蒂芬•吉尔克里斯特


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra