Sesserae is devoted solely to the work of Dennis Nona and features over 60 works from 1991 – 2005.
Dennis was born on Badu (Mulgrave Island) where he learned traditional wood carving. His exploration and skill in the medium of linocut prints subsequently developed a contemporary visual expression for a unique tradition of Torres Strait Islander culture, defining the means to retell the great stories of the Torres Strait Islanders.
The centrepiece of the exhibition Sesserae relates the epic ancestral story of a willy-wagtail bird on Badu Island, a narrative that goes to the heart of the importance of story-telling as a way of cultural survival. The story reveals rich and intricate details of community, social and cultural significance, including the application and transfer of knowledge about constellations, weather patterns and animal behaviours, to food sourcing and preparation, and application of customary laws.
Dennis has become an important ambassador for contemporary art of the Torres Strait Islands, and his work is beginning to attract international attention. He is now regarded as among the highest exponents of linocut printmaking in Australia.
Sesserae is organised by Dell Gallery, Griffith University. Support for the exhibition and publication project gratefully acknowledged from Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency [QIAMEA]. Generous support also received from Torres Strait Regional Authority and Badu Island Council and from the Australian Art Print Network, Sydney. The project is greatly indebted to assistance from John Graham, Helena Gulash, Avril Quaill, Vic McGrath, Solomon Ahmat, Toshi Kris, Peo Ahmat, Leilani Bin Juda, Dr Bruno David, Mike and Di Kershaw, Kerry Williams, Adrian Newstead, Theo Tremblay, Erik Roberts, Dennis and Bethyl.