presence

23 January 2003 - 13 April 2003
BHP Community Trust Gallery

terra nullius: land of no-one, unclaimed, empty. Yet the visual record of European settlement in Australia clearly shows the land inhabited. This major exhibition Presence, examines the contradiction between the 17th century doctrine of terra nullius, on which British claims to possession of Australia were based and the representation and visualisation of Indigenous people of Western Australia from pre European settlement times onwards.

Works for this exhibition were drawn from the Art Gallery of Western Australia's own Collection and included watercolours, paintings, photographs and prints and drawings dating from the late eighteenth century through to the 1960s. Major works from other local and national collections were loaned for Presence including works from the Holmes à Court Collection, Wesfarmers and the National Library of Australia.


Robert Dale Panoramic view of King George's Sound, part of the Colony of Swan River detail

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