Last year Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art held ‘Land Sea and Sky’ a major exhibition of contemporary art from Australia’s Torres Strait Islands – a vast region comprising more than 270 islands of which 17 are occupied by Torres Strait Island peoples. The rich culture of the Islanders is influenced by their traditional way of life and spiritual beliefs, and by the location of the Islands near Papua New Guinea and the trading routes to the immediate north of the Australian mainland.
Yessie Mosby was born on Waiben (Thursday Island) and learned the art of making headdresses from his great grand uncle on Masig (Yorke Island). Named ‘dari’ in the eastern Islands and ‘dhoeri’ in the west, the headdresses are used to signify island affiliations when used in dance and performance.
In the first exhibition of his work at Martin Browne Contemporary, Masig-Giu, the artist will show seven ‘Dhoeris’ used for the traditional ceremony of initiating young boys into manhood. These spectacular and colourful headdresses made from natural materials such as feathers from the cockatoo and sea hawk, seeds, beeswax and crocodile teeth are individually symbolic of the laws of the land and the virtues required of the young men.
Until 24 June.
Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney
Pic: Yessie Mosby, Warfare Dhoeri, 2012. COurtesy of the Artist and Martin Browne Contemporary.