Teho Ropeyarn’s work fuses traditional and western art practice, combining customary carving with printing to create large-scale vinyl-cut works on paper. His work also reflects traditional knowledge and documented histories of his Angkamuthi and Yadhaykana people of far-north Cape York Peninsula. Ropeyarn says: ‘I like to think of myself as a documenter of my people’s stories through art. This is what informs my practice. Knowledge through innovation.’

This work was carved over two months from six vinyl panels, each 3.5 metres high, to create a series 7.2 metres wide. The coloured sections were inked first by a master printmaker, then placed in position for the overall work to be printed in a single inking roll. It depicts anthropomorphic totems representing four clan groups of northern Cape York, who were created as protectors of their people, land, water and identity. The work is a visual representation of the philosophy that Aboriginal people are at one with the land, sea and sky.