Untitled (Bustard) synthetic and natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark 56 x 24cm
PROVENANCE: Likely to have been painted at Mowanjum, West Kimberley circa 1960 Purchased by English naturalist and conservationist Mr. Gerald Durrell from an antique shop in Sydney opposite the Menzies Hotel in 1962 Private collection Sotheby's, Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 24 June 2002, lot 5 Private collection
Internationally acclaimed author (most notably of My Family and Other Animals), naturalist and conservationist Gerald Durrell, OBE (1925-1995) collected this work in 1962 whilst in Australia to film Two in the Bush. For this production Durrell and his wife Jacquie travelled through Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand to film endangered species in order to raise awareness about the need to protect them and their habitat.
This work has been attributed to Wattie Karruwara by Kim Akerman due to its strong stylistic similarities to the artist's watercolours depicting the Bustard as well as the unusual use of synthetic pigment in this work. The 'pecked' designs can also be seen in Karruwara's Wanjina paintings.