All people and cultures grapple with how to deal with death. It is a distressing experience for those dying and those left behind. In spite of this, funerals and other mortuary ceremonies can be splendid things. They allow us to mourn and also to celebrate life in equal measure; they enable us to remember the individuals and groups of people who have in some way shaped our present and our past.

The exhibition, Gifts to the Fallen, is both a pragmatic and sentimental response to death, and the ceremonies around it, from an Aboriginal perspective. It presents a combination of traditional and contemporary objects that reference Aboriginal mortuary beliefs and practices. By opening up these ideas, the exhibition is also an invitation for all of us to remember someone who was close or special – for remembering is perhaps the best and last gift we can give the departed.
Artists represented include Jean Baptiste Apuatimi, Janet Fieldhouse, Ricardo Idagi, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Dr David Malangi, Yhonnie Scarce, Roy Wiggan and Joyce Winsley.

Image Credit:
Roy Wiggan
Spring water (Ilma - ceremonial emblem) 1993
wood, paint, wool, cotton
42 x 90cm (irregular)
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Purchased 1993


  • 10am - 5pm


Art Gallery of WA

Perth Cultural Centre (Bounded by Roe Street, Beaufort Street, Francis Street, William Street) Perth WA 6000

Show map
Get directions

You might also like

Clement Meadmore sculpture in the Perth Cultural Centre's Urban Orchard. Made from rusted corten steel and featuring geometric shapes.
Perth Cultural Centre

Between 1979-1980

Clement Meadmore is an internationally renowned sculptor who was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1929. He lived and worked predominately in America, where he died in 2005.

  • art-exhibitions
Public Art piece representing two black and white striped marble pillars outside of the State Library of WA.
Perth Cultural Centre

Gate 2: Coalesce

The Japanese born Australian artist Akio Makigawa was commissioned to create a landmark entry statement for the Perth Cultural Centre. Gate 2: Coalesce was erected outside the Alexander Library building in 1987.

  • art-exhibitions
View of the WA Museums front entrance with a crowd sitting on the steps in the foreground.
Perth Cultural Centre

WA Museum

The Western Australian Museum is the State’s premier cultural organisation, housing WA’s scientific and cultural collection. 

  • art-exhibitions
  • family-children
  • screening
  • learn