Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

16 May 2019

Elise Archer, Minister for the Arts

Rare Tasmanian Aboriginal portraits unveiled

It was my pleasure to unveil two highly significant sketches of Tasmanian Aboriginal men today at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts in Hobart.

The extremely rare portraits are of immense cultural significance to Tasmania, and have led to considerable local and national interest.

The drawings, by artist Nicholas-Martin Petit (1777-1804), have been heralded as some of the most sensitive and important depictions of Tasmanian Aboriginal people from this time.

These extraordinary sketches, purchased at auction by Libraries Tasmania through the Allport Bequest Fund, reveal unique insights into Tasmanian Aboriginal culture prior to the arrival of Europeans.

The portraits are from a collection of previously unknown works, recently unearthed from a private French collection.

I am delighted these incredible portraits can now be safely housed, digitised and accessed by the public where they will be on display until the 15 June this year.

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