An emotional history of Derbarl Yerrigan and Djarlgarro Beelier/ the Swan and Canning Rivers

Shane Pickett, Waagle - Rainbow Serpent, 1983, oil on canvas, 91.5 x 183.5 cm, State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Purchased 1996

Christopher Pease,The Round House, 2007, oil on canvas, 123 x 213cm.

The painting is based on a work by Wallace Bickley. The etching and aquatint entitled ‘View of Fremantle, Western Australia (from the Canning Road)’ was created in 1832 and depicted a panoramic view of Fremantle.
I have taken this image and place the Wagul – a mythical serpent that created the Beela (rivers) as it moved across the land. The Wagul rises from the water like a giant sea monster ready to engulf passing ships.
The foreground of the painting is overrun with white rabbits (a metaphor for the introduction of western beliefs, eroding and destroying indigenous way of life as well as the environment).
On the street is a chain gang being escorted to the ‘Round House’, an infamous jail that was the drop off point from which indigenous people were shipped to Wadjemup (Rottnest Island).
Christopher Pease.

Author: 
Gina Pickering
Date: 
23.11.2012