The Torres Strait Islander peoples have distinct characteristics from the Australian Aboriginal peoples, being genetically linked to the Melanesian and Papua New Guinea peoples. However, not unlike what happened with the majority of Australian aboriginal peoples, who did not have a written language, the art and culture of the Torres Strait Islander peoples was chiefly transmitted narratively by means of stories and dance, that were witnessed by small, mostly native, audiences. This intangible heritage was almost completely decimated by missionaries at the end of the 19th Century and survived solely thanks to a small group of elders, who managed to preserve the memory of stories, ceremonies and other cultural materials and relayed it to the young people. Today, artists such as Alick Tipoti, Glen Mackie, Joel Sam, Solomon Booth and Victor Motlop express the culture of their ancestors in a more graphic way and have managed to raise international awareness about their people’s art. Using modern techniques, they tell legends and myths of their tribes, in which a strong connection to the sea is paramount, combining a solid pictorial sense with the refined use of colors and textures.


June 28 to July 14 ‧ mala voadora