True Light and Shade An Aboriginal Perspective of Joseph Lycett Art
'True Light and Shade' is filled with beautiful images by convict artist Joseph Lycett that powerfully capture in intimate detail Aboriginal life, a rare record of Aboriginal people within the vicinity of Newcastle and how they adapted to European settlement before cultural destruction impacted on these groups.
John Maynard writes an engaging short biography of Lycett and his life in Australia and follows this with a detailed commentary on each of the 20 images in the album. Each image is reproduced in full on a double page spread and then, on the spreads following, details have been enlarged to accompany John's text as he takes us through exactly what is happening in every picture: ceremony, hunting and fishing, carrying food (carving up whalemeat), land management and burning, interactions with Europeans, family life, dances, funeral rituals, and punishment. When you return again to examine the full image, you see it in a completely different light. John also includes written records from the time that corroborate Lycett's views.
Some dreamtime stories connected with the areas Lycett depicted are also included, with accompanying Indigenous art. One story explains the earthquakes in the area (kangaroo jumping up and down).
The title quote 'true light and shade' comes from Lycett's words: 'I consider a complete drawing to be an accurate delineation of anything with its true light and shade.'
As a Worimi man from the Newcastle/Port Stephens region, John Maynard brings his own knowledge and insight to his exploration of the drawings, and to the fascinating character of Lycett himself. John is currently a Director at the Wollotuka Institute of Aboriginal Studies at the University of Newcastle and Chair of Indigenous History. He has held several major positions, including as Deputy Chairperson of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and Deputy Chair Humanities, National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network.
Published November 2014
284mm x 233mm