This painting is drawing direct reference from the hand-coloured lithograph produced by Louis Auguste de Sainson … [who] was the appointed draughtsman on the Astrolabe commanded by Dumont d’Urville. The lithograph itself was printed in 1833. The image depicts the area within King George Sound, south-west Western Australia, probably Middleton Beach. In the foreground members from d’Urville’s expedition load water onto one of the ship’s longboats via a long flexible hose. Interaction between the crew and the Minang people is obvious and positive with several individuals helping to load water. This historical image is a rare snapshot of some of the first interaction between the European and Minang people. It shows the exchange of ideas however different they are. It is the point where new ways of thinking are discovered.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010