Time and Tides
Art in the Torres Strait Islands, Queensland

2 Sep 2017 – 5 Aug 2018
GOMA | Gallery 3.5 | Free

The Torres Strait is a beguiling region of volcanic islands, coral cays and richly coloured submerged reefs, fringed by turquoise water, under pale blue skies. In ‘Time and Tides’, Torres Strait Islander artists embrace the beauty of the environment and reflect the diversity and depth of the culture, particularly its history of making powerful ceremonial and decorative objects.

Following a long local tradition of skilful wood-carving, in the 1990s, a group of young men perfected their lino- and wood-block carving techniques to create intricate prints, bringing a new form of Torres Strait Island art into prominence. Also on display are Zamiyakal (‘dance machines’), elaborate, articulated dance objects, worn to add visual excitement to narrative performances.

The stories that emerge convey the vitality of contemporary Torres Strait Islander culture and point to the knowledge and skills that sustain life in what is a complex maritime environment.


Ken Thaiday Sr, Australia b.1950 / Symbol of the Torres Strait 2003 / Plywood, synthetic polymer paint, feathers, black bamboo, plastic tubing, fishing line / Purchased 2004 with funds from Corrs Chambers Westgarth through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist.

Joey Laifoo, Australia b.1978 / Pearling days 2002 / Colour linocut on paper / Purchased 2004. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist.

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