Bombing of Darwin

Accession Number AWM2016.251.1
Collection type Art
Measurement Framed: 123.6 cm x 182.5 cm x 4.3 cm; Unframed: 121 cm x 180 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description Ochre on linen
Maker Wanji Wanji, Susan
Place made Australia: Northern Territory, Melville Island
Date made 2016
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Susan Wanji Wanji lives and works on Melville Island which is the largest of the two Tiwi Islands. The experience of the planes and the bombings on the island came as a shock to many Tiwi Islanders and it is an event which still has resonance today through traditional songs and stories. This initial experience is represented in the painting. In a description of the works supplied by Munupi Arts, Susan Wanji Wanji explains that:

'After the first bombing, the men thought of making songs and dance about the bombing and the planes. This painting is about that. One old man singing, while men, women and children dance around. Some people when the bombing started were standing around or hunting with their spears, when the bombing started they were throwing their spears to the plane and hiding to try to keep safe.'