Awakening: Stories from the Torres Strait

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

Awakening

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.

Back to our roots, on this day, and into the future

Uncle Thomas Sebasio, Erub Island Elder

“Awakening” seeks to reconnect the spirit between people and their objects. However this can be difficult.

Some of the earliest pieces collected by Europeans in the mid-1800’s were the stunning masks of the Torres strait, some of which were unique to the region and made nowhere else in the Pacific.

However, not much is known about these masks. Obtaining the artefact was considered to be more important than understanding the object’s context and story: the purpose of the object in Islander culture.

Masks, and all other objects, are enmeshed in a web of cultural meaning. When objects are removed from the cultural web, the web breaks. Only with understanding is it possible to rebuild the web for future generations.

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