Patrick Thaiday

Patrick Thaiday / Kulkalgaw Ya people, Australia, b.1963 / Comet (Dance machines) / Wood, galvanized steel, nails, synthetic polymer paint, nylon string / Purchased 2011 with funds from Thomas Bradley through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

Patrick Thaiday's zamiyakal are  unique articulated dance objects central to stirring Torres Strait Island performances featuring loud singing and drumming. Thaiday's choreography and dance machines appear widely in community cultural festivals and events where performers manipulate their ingenious system of moving joints and string pulleys to animate their narrative dances. Though designed to be mobilised through human action, zamiyakal are equally powerful objects when static.

The Comet dance machine represents the drama and intensity of a comet that appears only once every seven centuries, whereas Zugub embodies the Southern Cross constellation with stars emerging from a cloud in a rainbow-like arc. They relate to zugubal spirits and deities which once lived with humans, but now inhabit the celestial world; controlling winds, tides and other elemental forces from their home in the stars.