Awakening: Stories from the Torres Strait

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

Drums

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.

"The lesson is learnt in the process, the reward knowing how you got to the end product."

Uncle Thomas Sebasio, Erub Island Elder

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

These skills continue to be taught, processes and tools adapting with the changing social environment.

These traditional skills can be seen in Torres Strait Islander contemporary art and performance today.

The drum is integral to the social, political and cultural events in a Torres Strait Islanders’ life.  

Drums took two main forms and could be played on the ground or carried during dance. One type of drum, the hourglass shaped warup drum had carvings of animals, which sometimes referenced the owner’s totem.  Shells and nuts attached to these drums rattled with the beating of the drum and were not purely decorative. This type of drum is seldom made today.

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