Awakening: Stories from the Torres Strait

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

Past, present & future

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.

"Welcome to the Torres Strait of the past, present and future."

Uncle Thomas Sebasio, Erub Island Elder, 2011

Prior to the late 1800’s, feathered headdresses, called dhari (Eastern language) or dhorei (Western language), were worn by men on ceremonial occasions and during warfare. Today they are only worn by dancers on ceremonial occasions.

Central on the Torres Strait Islander flag, the dhari has become an emblem of unity and identity, representing shared traditions and beliefs of Torres Strait Islanders.

"Napau" dhoeri

The story of the Dhoeri named "Napau", made by Frank Loban, speaks to the strength of leadership in the contemporary battle for culture, and the appreciation of past and present ways of Islander men. 

The blue, green and black of this dhoeri represent the Torres Strait: blue for the water, green for the land, and black for the Indigenous Torres Strait Islander. The placement of the colours on the central framework refers to Islanders living in the Strait and on the mainland. The star represents the five island groups of the region. 

The pearl references males in Lohan’s family lineage, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the family ties of the past, present and into the future. The feathers symbolise the direction and source for the flight for Indigenous leadership.

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