Segar Passi

Meriba Ged A Gur (Our Land and Sea)

8 Oct –
11 Dec 2022

Segar Passi is renowned for his meticulously detailed paintings and watercolours of life and culture on his island home of Mer (formerly Murray Island) in the Torres Strait. Passi was born in 1942 and is a self-taught artist who, at a very early age, demonstrated an extraordinary ability to paint the weather systems, cultural knowledge, mythology, Indigenous astrology, marine and bird life, and day-to-day life on the islands in the Torres Strait region.

For Torres Strait Islanders and especially the people of Mer, the Gallery’s exhibition has a particular importance as it marks two significant anniversaries – the artist’s 80th birthday, and the 30th anniversary of the High Court's landmark Mabo determination that paved the way for the recognition and protection of native title across Australia.

The Gallery Collection has an extensive holding of work by Segar Passi, including many works commissioned by the Gallery since 2014. These and other works on loan from private collectors and major public galleries, including Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Gab Titui, and the National Gallery of Victoria, will feature in the exhibition. 

We are especially pleased that a small selection of works from the Margaret Lawrie Archive in the John Oxley Library at the State Library of Queensland, are also included in the exhibition. These works were created in the 1960s when Margaret Lawrie, a visiting teacher, met Passi and was instantly captivated by the young artist’s knowledge, passion, and ability to make art that was deeply imbued with his cultural connection to the islands of Mer, Dauar, and Waier.

To support the exhibition and pay tribute to a truly remarkable artists of our time, the Gallery is producing a new publication on the works of Segar Passi with an essay by Diane Moon, a curator of Australian art at QAGOMA.


Selected Works



Mam Edge  2012
synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 76 x 100 cm
Purchased by Cairns Regional Gallery, 2012

The Cairns Art Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased persons in photographs, film or text.