Performative Prints of the Torres Strait

This was an exhibition at the Arts Centre of lino prints, sculpture and video works from Torres Strait Islander artists working across Australia.

I had seen one of Alick Tipoti’s monumental lino prints before, at the Sydney Biennale. The one at the Arts Centre was about eight metres long. While the scale of the work is impressive, the detail of the work is even more arresting. Tipoti draws on traditional Islander carving designs and he is very good at it. The black stands out as though they are the work of the artist’s hand.

I wrote a whole essay on the works in this exhibition, so I have a lot of thoughts. My first impression was that it was wonderful to spend so time with works that had so much detail. Brian Robinson’s works combine Western and Torres Strait history, and pop culture, so you get the detailed abstract background revealing Batman and WALL•E.

Ricardo Idagi’s work is more explicitly about the place of Torres Strait Islanders in the Western museum. The pieces—traditional masks and headdresses, and pottery works in Western traditions—are beautiful, and also fantastically thinky and pointed.

Keep an eye out for contemporary print works and contemporary works by Indigenous artists!