IN April 1949, William Dobell, the celebrated artist and twice an Archibald Prize winner, visited New Guinea.
He was the guest of Sir Edward (E J) Hallstrom of the Nondugl Experimental Sheep Farm and accompanied by a number of others, including the authors Colin Simpson and Frank Clune.
Carrying with him only basic drawing and painting equipment, Dobell was captivated with what he saw, later commenting to Colin Simpson: “First of all, what appealed to me was the dignity of the people – a surprising dignity. They had character that I didn’t expect…
“I feel that anything that I have done in the past has been done by some other artist, but these subjects have not been done. I can get something entirely new….”