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TORRES STRAIT

At the National Museum of Australia

A week in Canberra, Australia’s capital, media interviews thick and fast, a visit to the National Museum of Australia to visit the Old Masters: Australia’s great bark artists exhibition and the Lag Meta Aus exhibition.

"The new exhibition is designed to bring visitors a fuller understanding of one of Australia’s most remote and unique areas"

The exhibition of barks is exquisite art and has a powerful impact on me. Old friends, many memories and a deep knowledge of place and country. But now to the Torres Strait.

Brian Robinson in Singapore (Art Stage 2014)

There is also time to look in at the installation of the new Torres Strait Islander Gallery. Jonathan (Jono) Lineen, the exhibition’s curator, was directing the installation of the new gallery for its official opening. A quick catch-up with Jono and its time to get back to media commitments.

Caution: This website includes images and names of deceased people that may cause distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Here Jono tells us about his exhibition which is now open to visitors.

Lag Meta Aus – Home in the Torres Strait

Alick Tipoti at home on Badu Island

The National Museum of Australia has recently reopened its Torres Strait Island gallery, featuring an intriguing series of objects and stories that will reveal the history and complexity of Australia’s most northerly region. The exhibition gallery’s name, Lag / Meta / Aus incorporates the words for home in the area’s three indigenous languages and symbolizes the fact that for the eighty percent of islanders who now live on mainland Australia, the Torres Strait Islands are still their home.

The people of the Torres Strait are of Melanesian background and speak two distinct languages: Meriam Mir in the Eastern Islands and Kala Lagaw Ya in the Central and Western islands. The Kaurareg people are traditional owners of the south-west Torres Strait.

The exhibition will feature modules on the early history of the Torres Strait, contact between Islanders and Europeans, the arrival of Christianity, the pearling industry in the Strait, World War Two, the Mabo Native Title case and performance culture on the islands. A wide variety of objects are used to tell those stories from a community perspective - constructed double outrigger canoe to traditional feathered headdresses from across the Straits, linocut prints by Alick Tipoti and Ellarose Savage, etchings by Brian Robinson and a palm leaf diving helmet sculpture by Betty Tekahika.

Alick Tipoti from Zugub, the mask, the spirits and the stars

The centrepiece of the exhibition’s exit area is an edited video of Creative Cowboys films Zugub, the mask, the spirits and the stars featuring Alick Tipoti explaining the connection between the language and landscape of the Torres Strait and his artistic practice.

The new exhibition is designed to bring visitors a fuller understanding of one of Australia’s most remote and unique areas.

Ken Thaiday Snr in an early mask, Erub

SUBJECT: Torres Strait  / Torres Strait history / Language / Performance / Art / Culture

NOTE: You can read about and watch films and interviews with Torres Strait Islander artists in the film, mags and books and blog (Torres Strait) sections of this website. There are also stories of the lives of Australia's bark painters in the film and blog (Aboriginal) sections of this website.

The images in this blog are from various Creative cowboy films shoots in the Torres Strait.

Ken Thaiday Snr at home on Erub