Quilp’s horse: Rock art and artist life-biography in Western Arnhem Land, Australia

Sally K. May*, Joakim Goldhahn, Laura Rademaker, Graham Badari, Paul S.C. Taçon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Rock art created in the recent past has often been interpreted as a passive reflec-tion of Indigenous curiosity at newly introduced phenomena. However, more recent analy-ses have tried to refigure such depictions as active and innovative artworks with social and cultural roles to play. Likewise, most contact rock art studies identify and interpret contact rock art within the clan or group context — as representations of a whole. In this paper, we broaden the conceptual framework around contact rock art to, where possible, embrace anal-yses of particular artists, their life biographies and legacies. By focusing on one known artist and his painting of a horse in western Arnhem Land, we draw together rock art studies, eth-nography and Aboriginal life biographies to provide a more comprehensive understanding of Australian history.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)211-221
    Number of pages11
    JournalRock Art Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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