Story Waters brings together more than sixty works from the Gallery’s Permanent Collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art that have been acquired since the Gallery opened in 1995.
One of the strengths of the Collection is its holding of Indigenous art and craft from Far North Queensland. Each of the works selected for this exhibition explores different themes and narratives about the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples holistically value the historical, mythological and cultural significance of the ocean. They tell stories of survival and spiritual connection with the land, sea and sky. Water is a life force that is implicitly embedded in their culture, society, sense of place and identity, well being and economy.
More than twenty artists are represented in the exhibition, including Billy Missi (dec.), Justin Majid, Laurie Nona, Dennis Nona, Alick Tipoti, Brian Robinson, Rosella Namok, Ken Thaiday Snr, Silas Hobson, and Segar Passi.
From artists now famous for their early printmaking in the 1990s, through to more recent ghost net sculptures, masks, headdresses and paintings, the works explore ways in which water informs traditional legends, spirit stories, totems and cultural lore, as well as the cyclic importance of seasons for hunting and gathering sea life and timing for journeying and travel.
A number of works in the Collection and now included in Story Waters have been loaned to major exhibitions around Australia, including Ken Thaiday’s remarkable sculpture Beizam that was included in the 2016 Biennale of Sydney.
Story Waters is a remarkable testament to the breadth and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists of Far North Queensland.
with Teho Ropeyarn, Cairns Art Gallery curator
3 February 2PM