Returning to Places that Name Us

1 January - 2 February 2000

These photographs are available in two sizes:

45 x 55cm (image size)

95 x 120cm (image size)


Please contact the gallery for pricing and availability


These five portraits were inspired by the Wik people’s hard-fought battle for custodianship of their traditional land at Cape York in northern Queensland. The Wik people, who were dispossessed of their land through mining and pastoral leases in the early twentieth century, first made a claim for native title to their country in 1993. A landmark ruling in 1996 decided that native title and pastoral leases could coexist, allowing shared use of the land but granting primacy to pastoral rights. The Wik people continued to fight for recognition as the traditional owners and custodians of the land, which they achieved in 2000 when a court ruling conferred possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of Wik land on the Wik people. They were acknowledged as its traditional owners with the right to manage it in accordance with their laws and customs.


A member of the Ben Lomond/Cape Portland people of Tasmania, Maynard has been documenting Aboriginal communities since he photographed his own during the mutton-bird season in The Moonbird People (1985–88). Returning to Places that Name Us continues Maynard’s interest in recording and, as he says, ‘leaving proof’ of the struggles of Aboriginal people. This series, a departure from earlier landscape compositions, is the only body of work to date in which Maynard has used full-frame portraits. Removed from background and context, Maynard urges the viewer to recognise in these portraits the determination and authority of the Wik elders.