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By children of Ernabella


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Catalogue record

Place of Creation: Ernabella, South Australia

Date of creation : 1940

Format : Artwork, 400 x 440 mm

Reproduced with the permission of Ernabella Arts and the State Library of South Australia.

Filled with Pitjantjatjara motifs and totemic objects, these crayon drawings were collected by ethnographer Charles Mountford (1890-1976) during the Adelaide University Anthropological Expedition to Central Australia in 1940. They are now part of the extensive Mountford-Sheard Collection in the State Library of South Australia.

PRG 1218/12C/1/51: Tjanjantinja, male, 8 years, volume 1, drawing number 51, 9.7.1940, Ernabella, pink/rose with light green chalk/pastel line drawing on brown paper, details of camel, camel eating fodder, man leading camel, small lizard;
PRG 1218/12C/1/122: Lanaliginja, female, 10 years, volume 1, drawing number 122, 4.7.1940, Ernabella, purple and red chalk/pastel line drawing on brown paper, details of kokuras (desert oaks), grasses, flat rocks, dots are faces of demon sparrows that roost in the trees;
PRG 1218/12C/3/14. Amiminja, female, 13 years, volume 3, drawing number 14, June or July 1940, Ernabella, brown and black chalk/pastel line drawing on brown paper, no other data

PRG 1218/34/1262Q. Charles P Mountford, Aboriginal child Ngaunytja, and Tommy Dodd, collecting drawings, Ernabella, 1940

Mountford's journal entry of the day:

Wednesday 19th June 1940:
10.30 to 11. When I arrived, the children had just had their wash and were busy either combing their hair or that of one of the younger children. They are certainly delightful children and one could not help becoming attached to them. As neither Trudinger [Ron, School teacher at Ernabella] or myself knew how long the drawings would take to execute or to interpret, we distributed sheets of paper to every child in the class, and then took them, one after another as their drawings were complete and then tried to get their meanings. But the output of the children, in their enthusiasm, was so great, being able to do something without restraint, that I am afraid that we were only able to complete the interpretations of less than 50%. Still, we put the name of the child, his age and sex on every sheet, and where possible the meanings of the designs they drew.

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