Segar Passi | Meriam Mir people Australia b. 1942 | Koob 2011 | Synthetic polymer paint on paper | 70 x 100cm | Commissioned for 'Land, Sea and Sky: Contemporary Art of the Torres Strait Islands' | Purchased 2011 with funds from Anne Best through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
In ten paintings, Torres Strait Island artist Segar Passi documents aspects of the knowledge held by Islanders that allows them to read the weather. Safety at sea is paramount for any island dweller, and Passi learnt from an early age to read the signs of rips and whirlpools, tides and currents, and to understand their intimate relationship with the movements of the stars and planets. From cloud formations, Passi can even foretell sad family news.
In Koob Passi shows the kind of clouds usually seen in monsoon weather. From Koob we know the storm is coming and fishermen are unable to go out fishing because of the rough weather. ‘Koob’ means rain cloud in Meriam language.
Other works in this series also hold specific information about the weather. Kerkar meb 1 (meaning ‘new moon’ in Meriam language) shows that every month the new moon is seen at different angles and that the wind will die down the next day. Lidlid shows the huge clouds which always predict the direction of the wind the next day; Lidlid are seen in the months of December and January, usually shifting from west to north-west and back. If they appear on the north-west side in the evening, the wind will blow from that direction the following day.