Laid to Rest


These are portraits of Truganini (1812-1876) and William Lanne (also known as King Billy) (1835-1869) in spirit form after being laid to rest in homeland Country. Aboriginal people have considered the dispersal of bones as being disrespectful, as it is a common aspect within the Aboriginal belief system is that a soul can only be at rest when laid in its homeland.
Truganini herself entertained fears that her body might be exploited after her death and two years after, her body was exhumed and sent to Melbourne for scientific study. Her skeleton was then put up for public display in the Tasmanian Museum until 1947, and was only laid to rest by cremation in 1976. Another case was the removal of the skull and scrotum for a tobacco pouch of William Lanne on his death in 1869.

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49 × 139 cm | Acrylic on canvas | Cat. no: 0020-20

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