Alick Tipoti, David Bosun and Glen Mackie are from the islands of the Torres Strait, situated between the northern tip of Australia and Papua New Guinea. These three highly-collected Australian artists are part of an important school of contemporary Torres Strait Islander art, with works in many important Australian and international permanent collections.
Traditionally, small Islander audiences experienced culture through storytelling and dance. Tipoti, Bosun and Mackie are translating the knowledge and techniques derived from traditional skill as carvers into a contemporary visual art form, based on the fine incising of complex narrative images and symbolic pattern-making into linoleum blocks and printing onto archival paper. Exhibitions like this give their culture a wider audience and exemplify the strong contemporary linocut practice of the Torres Strait printmakers.
The artist’s intricate designs and strong figurative imagery re-tell legends passed down by Elders about the creation of their environment; unique and exciting stories about life before the islands were impacted by outside interests: a time when warriors were held in high esteem, their distinctive headdresses and masks, drums and objects associated with ritual ceremonies and dances.
The artists are acutely aware of the fragile nature of their marine environment, incorporating into their work imagery of important foods including dugong, turtle, edible fish, crayfish; beautiful reef features like corals, trochus shells and conches and exotic flowers, trees and birds.
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