Awakening: Stories from the Torres Strait

"Awakening" seeks to reconnect the spirit between people and their objects.

The Exhibition

Cultural Advice: Visitors should be aware that the exhibition and website may include names, images and voices of deceased people that may cause sadness or distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is our intention to tell these stories and use imagery with good faith and with respect.

Awakening: Stories from the Torres Strait exhibition presented at Queensland Museum South Bank 25 June – 2 October 2011.

Awakening: Stories from the Torres Strait

Awakening: Stories from the Torres Strait

The Torres Strait is home to a strong, vibrant, living culture that is thousands of years old. 'Awakening' explores aspects of this rich and diverse culture through objects of extraordinary beauty and significance from the Queensland Museum's Torres Strait Island collection.

The Torres Strait Islands

The Torres Strait Islands

The Torres Strait lies between the tip of Cape York and the border of Papua New Guinea. It encompasses more than 270 islands scattered over 48,000 square kilometres.

Torres Strait Islanders

Torres Strait Islanders

Indigenous to the Torres Strait, the Islanders have a unique origin, history and way of life. Their art and culture differs from that of Aboriginal Australians.

Torres Strait Islander objects & the Queensland Museum

Torres Strait Islander objects & the Queensland Museum

Since its establishment as a Queensland Government institution, the Queensland Museum has acquired objects from the Torres Strait region. The earliest donations of Torres Strait objects occurred between 1873 and 1880.

Past, present & future

Past, present & future

The dhari has become an emblem of unity and identity, representing shared traditions and beliefs of Torres Strait Islanders.

People: women and men

People: women and men

For as long as there have been islands in the Torres Strait, there have been Torres Strait Islanders and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Place

Place

Torres Strait Islanders had named the islands, the water, the animals, the plants, the moon, the stars and the seasons. They had established gardens, harnessed the sea and developed extensive trade networks.

Home

Home

Home and food are expressed differently between the Eastern and Western Island groups.

Purpose

Purpose

Torres Strait Islanders traditional art and craftsmanship have been passed down from generation to generation, and remain a key part of cultural practice today.

Influences on living culture

Influences on living culture

Significant events in Torres Strait history have affected the maintenance and continuation of Torres Strait Islander culture. These processes caused immense social, religious and environmental disruption and changed Islander way of life.

Awakening

Awakening

"Awakening" seeks to reconnect the spirit between people and their objects. Some of the earliest pieces collected from the Torres Strait Islands by Europeans were the stunning masks, some of which were unique to the region and made nowhere else in the Pacific.

References & further reading

References & further reading

Queensland Museum Torres Strait Island Festival Exhibtion 2011 reference list

Museum information: