Toby Cedar is a Torres Strait Islander with bloodline connections to Erub, Mer and Moa Islands. Growing up on mainland Australia, Cedar was taught traditional stories from the Islands, through song and dance. Like his ancestors, Cedar is an innovative, self-taught craftsman who uses the materials available to him to realise his works. Respected Elders mentor him in traditional craft practices.
This is the artist’s first major solo exhibition and his most ambitious artistic project to date. Inspired by a desire to share his father’s stories and culture with his sons and others, these artworks are interpretations of Island stories; used to explain creation and law, and impart knowledge about hunting techniques and the rhythms of life, seasons, winds and tides. This exhibition presents an installation of Cedar’s fine Daris (traditional headdresses made from cane and feathers) alongside his distinctive contemporary totemic headdresses. New large-scale sculptures are covered with symbolic surface designs, meticulously inlaid with materials such as cut pearl shell and polished coconut husk.
Image: Toby Cedar Beizam Le Op 2015 pearl shell, feathers, fibre glass, acrylic paint, cane, twine, bamboo cane, beeswax, kuluop 111 x 104 x 28 Cairns Regional Gallery Collection Courtesy of the Artist Photograph courtesy of MIchael Marzik