The wet season was almost at an end, the tropical air still heavy, the sun shone powerfully above us as we stood on the small jetty on Badu Island. We had arranged to meet ANTHONY MURPHY who was to pick us up in his tinny and take us on the 30 minute trip to Moa Island to visit Ngalmun Lagau Minaral Art Centre in Kubin. We could see a small tinny heading towards us, its outboard motor now audible and then as the craft approached, a familiar image, ANTHONY’s smiling face.
In this discussion MERSANE LOBAN and ANTHONY MURPHY describe the art practice and development of the Ngalmun Lagau Minaral Art Centre in the small settlement of Kubin on Moa Island.
The tide was out so it meant a climb down a narrow ladder and then a precarious step on to the tinny bobbing below, carefully loading the camera gear we arranged ourselves in the small craft, and then we were off, outboard at full throttle as we skimmed the surface of the waves. The landscape of the Torres Strait, the islands, the reefs and the turquoise sea, all dotted around us. All too soon we were manoeuvring to land at the jetty in Kubin, Anthony trying hard to avoid the fishing lines that belonged to the group of Islanders fishing for their dinner from the end of the jetty.
We unloaded the tinny and soon we were sitting in the art centre sharing lunch with the Moa arts community.
From the original seeds sewn by DENNIS NONA and BILLY MISSI, Ngalmun Lagau Minaral Art Centre is now flourishing, not only one of the newest art centres, in the Torres Strait, but also in Australia. The centre’s purpose, to encourage the resurgence of cultural practices and in doing so preserving the culture and skills of Moa Island residents. Here in Kubin the centre’s artists are creating works using different media, sometimes using found objects , including printmaking, etching, jewellery, weaving and carving.