Exhibition News

Gelam Nguzu Kazi - Dugong My Son, Exhibition.

story illustration
Published Sunday, 24 November 2002

Dennis Nona, Billy Missi, David Bosun and Victor Motlop , have depicted the legends and stories of Mua Island in the Western Torres Strait in this first exhibition of limited edition linocuts to tour international and Australian venues.

Dennis Nona, Alick Tipoti, Andrew Williams, Bily Missi, David Bosun, Victor Motlop and others have demonstrated a mastery in their traditionally derrived carving skills and have created an art movement based on incising linoleum, and printing editions on to archival paper. This exhibition features the unique and wonderful work of these artists.

A common source of imagery of these artists is the coral sea which contains the vital foods that sustain the people of the Torres Straits, including dugong, turtle, edible fish, crayfish and the beautiful features of the reef like corals, trochus shells and conches. The artists are accutely aware of the gragile nature of their environment and incorporate this theme in their work. Billy Missi's pring Dhanghal Um Araik, which was highly commended in the 2000 National Heritage Art Award is a fitting example.

The breeding grounds of the dugong and their interconnectedness, is depicted as a grandfather and father ponder whether these grounds will survive to sustain the next generation.

David Bosun's image of a beautiful crayfish with its intricate background design is named Dying Industry, because of the rapid decline in their numbers over recent years. Tales of the days of commercial pearling and the luggers now no longer seen in the islands, and sea going outriggers, now largeley replaced by aluminium runabouts, are an inspiration, along with the many exotic flowers, trees and birds like hibiscus, fangipani or tropical fruits and the Torres Strait pigeon, native to these islands.

The backgrounds to the figurative imagery are also full of symbolic meaning. For example, the open weave of traditional baskets, as in Victor Motlop's Battle During Trading, where the sacred clan designs of shark tooth or crocodile skin are employed together with the incredibly intricate patterning of tidal movements through the Straits.

Extract from the essay The Genesis and Devlopment of Torres Strait Print Making in the Western Islands, page 11 by Adrian Newstead, in the Gelam Nguzu Kazi - Dugong My Son catalogue.

The Australian Art Print Network is the exhibition organizer (in conjunction with Kubin Community Council) and tour managers. For more information visit the Art Print Network site by clicking here.

Venue/Location Start End
Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo Vic 14 December 2002 26 January 2003
Mildura Arts Centre, Mildura, Vic 3 February 2003 10 March 2003
Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery, NSW 28 March 2003 11 May 2003
Manly Art Gallery & Museum, NSW 20 June 2003 27 July 2003
Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, Qld 4 August 2003 14 September 2003
Noosa Regional Gallery, Tewantin Qld 26 September 2003 2 November 2003
Cairns Regional Gallery, Qld 24 November 2003 11 January 2004

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