Aboriginal Artists - Mickey of Ulladulla & Tommy Mcrae | State Library of New South Wales

Aboriginal Artists - Mickey of Ulladulla & Tommy Mcrae

The works of Aboriginal artists, Mickey of Ulladulla and Tommy McRae, are an unequalled record of an Indigenous perspective during the mid to late 1800s, a time otherwise dominated by European artists and writers. Drawn at a time when Aboriginal people were being concentrated into larger, centralised settlements, the works held by the Mitchell Library demonstrate the resilience of Aboriginal culture as it transitioned into a new era.

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Mickey of Ulladulla's pen and ink works depict a complex ceremonial and social life, and provide unique insights into the adaptation of his Dhurga people to the coming of European settlers. Known as 'Mickey the cripple', he lived on the town reserve at Ulladulla on the New South Wales south coast, where activities revolved largely around fishing and the local Indigenous community.

Tommy McRae is similarly recognised for his transitional work, bridging traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art forms. Spending most of his life in the upper Murray region of New South Wales and Victoria, he was known variously as Tommy McCrae, Tommy Barnes, Yakaduna and Chief of the Wahgunyah tribe of north-eastern Victoria. He began sketching in the 1860s, drawing much of his subject matter from local memory and oral traditions. He gained recognition during his lifetime and sold many of his works.

Both artists represented their daily lives and communities in their work, vividly depicting ceremonies, which were central to Aboriginal society, as well as traditional hunting and food gathering.

> View works by another Indigenous artist, Black Johnny via the Library's catalogue.

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