Works of art never seen before outside Torres Strait will be exhibited in Newcastle as part of a landmark exhibition focusing on the artistic tradition of Torres Strait Islander culture.
The Torres Strait Island flag was hoisted at City Hall today for the first time in the building’s two-year history, in line with the Newcastle Art Gallery exhibition. It will be flown permanently to City Hall in honor of the local Torres Strait community.
Built in four years, Frequency: The Art of Torres Strait Developed by Newcastle Art Gallery in collaboration with highly respected artist and curator Brian Robinson.
It will include more than 1,130 works of art drawn from the gallery’s collection, as well as newly created pieces and highlights from local state, national institutions, artists and private collections.
Not many pieces have appeared outside the Torres Strait, including new works by Badhulgaw Kuthinaw Mood (Badu Art Center), Ngalmun Lagau Minaral Art (Mo Art) and Erub Ervar Meta (Erub Art).
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the independent exhibition provided an important opportunity to strengthen ties with the local Torres Strait Islanders and showcase their traditions and traditional wider community.
The exhibition title, WARWAR, is a traditional Eastern Island word in the Meriam Mer language, which translates into English as ‘marked with banquet’.
“Warwara is an important event for the Newcastle Art Gallery and the Hunter area, representing for the first time this Torres Strait Islander exhibition of caliber and size, outside of Australia’s major cities,” said CR Nelmes.
“This provides an important opportunity for the city of Newcastle to engage with our large Torres Strait Islander community, some who have never seen this culturally important work of art before, or whose culture has been celebrated with such significant significance.
“To further strengthen these ties, we raised the flag of Torres Strait Island for the first time at City Hall, today in front of members of the local Torres Strait community in a special Torres. It will be permanent once the exhibition is over. ”
Toby Cedar, a Newcastle-based artist who won the 2020 CAIF Port Northern Sculpture Award and teaches local dance and culture, said the exhibition is an important recognition of Torres Strait Island culture.
“It is very special for me to be a part of this exhibition as it showcases our rich Torres Strait Islander art and culture,” Mr. Kedar said.
“For many, this exhibition will be the first time they have learned anything about the Torres Strait Islands and our people, which is very important to me. Brian narrates our history and stories well in a way that curates the exhibition in a separate phase.
“It’s amazing that the local and surrounding Torres Strait Islander communities will all be able to see art from our past here at NSW, many of the pieces were shown for the first time.
“I would also be very proud to see the Torres Strait Island flag unfurled at City Hall for the first time with my family because it includes my people and I feel identified with the other flags there.”
Loretta Morton, director of the Newcastle Art Gallery, said the gallery has been actively taking on works by Torres Strait Islander artists since 2017, many of which will be on display for the first time. Works of art on loan from Australia’s leading institutions that were not exhibited publicly before the exhibition, create an incredible opportunity for the community to experience and experience and gain new appreciation and understanding of the culture here at Newcastle.
“Over and over “Through the rise of 1st century art practitioners and today’s contemporary art tradition, the Torres Strait Islander tradition and the art of showcasing the development and potential of society have a wide variety of characteristics,” Ms Morton said.
“It explores the impact of cultural preservation, Christianity, language and globalization on the physical environment of the Torres Strait Islands, located in the narrow waters between the land masses of Jae Dagum Daudai (Australia) in the south and Naigai Dagam Daudai (Papua New Guinea) in the north. “
Exhibition artists include Joseph Au, Grace Lillian Lee, Glenn Mackey, Billy Missy, Laurie Nona, Brian Robinson, Drs. Ken Thaidai and Alik Tipoti.
Guest curator Brian Robinson said Frequency: The Art of Torres Strait The unique Ilon is an important part of Kustam (island customs) from which wisdom, power and creativity are derived.
“It’s through visual art, dance, and song that ancestral stories and legends are kept and passed on to the younger generation, and it’s important that such exhibitions contribute to this preservation,” Mr. Robinson said.
“The Newcastle Art Gallery has played a pivotal role in the co-creation of this unique exhibition, which helps to develop, grow and understand this wonderful indigenous culture.
“For local Torres Strait Island communities, the exhibition is a way to reconnect to the island; Back to family and friends; Return to the rich and vibrant history that has been defined by the wonderful tradition of rituals that have been going on for thousands of years. ”
Frequency: The Art of Torres Strait May 2 – Will run at the Newcastle Art Gallery from August 22, 2021, and coincides with important dates, including Mabo Day, Reconciliation Week, Lack of Light and NAIDOC Week.
The Newcastle Art Gallery will be hosting events on each important date in collaboration with local Torres Strait Island artists and performers, while curator and artist Talk Saturday will be hosted by exhibition curator Brian Robinson and local artist Toby Cedar in a conversation with Newcastle. Art Gallery Director Loretta Morton.