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View the printing of this monumental 8 metre work. To the best of our knowledge it is the largest print ever produced from a single block on a single sheet.

This print depicts the cultural connection between the Islanders
and their spiritual ancestors the Muruygal. It shows the stages and
sequences of traditional chants and some of the totems and stories we
dance about.

Kuyku Mabaygaw Ngurpay (Elder’s Teachings)
The very first people to start any initiation or traditional rituals are the
Kuyku Mabaygal. I have started this artwork (right end of print) with
three figures, each beating a Warup (Drum), they are elders singing
ancient chants as they call the ancestral spirits to guide and protect
the dancers. Above them are Bu shells identifying a Kod guided by an
ancestral spirit. The Kod is a sacred meeting place where decisions are

Only the voices of the old Kuyku Mabaygal are recognized by the spirits
for they are the original teachers of the old men. The sounds of the Bu
shell mentioned below signals the spirits to reappear and connect with
their disciples, the Drummers. If a spirit appears bare handed, then it
is for a wrong reason. To understand and communicate in the proper
traditional manner, the elders look for the Woerakar leaf in the spirits
hands. This indicates that these are their protectors. The Woerakar
symbolizes the relationship between Awadhe (uncle) and Wadhuwam
(nephew). It’s a traditional bond between teacher and student. This is
a very important connection and has sacred information that cannot be
discussed further.

Zenadh Kesaw Il Gubal (Four Winds of the Torres Strait)
Four young men blow the Bu shell. Each shell represents the four main
winds of Zenadh-Kes. Naygay: North-East; Sager: South-East; Zey:
South-West; Kuki: North-West.
The four winds are the forefathers of the many winds that can be
identified through Torres Strait Island culture. For example; more than
five winds can be identified within the Kuki wind. Each wind connects
with the ancient knowledge of the weather patterns, sea currents and
spiritual journeys. The winds also connect the people with the land, sea
and sky.

Markay wiay (Connecting with the Spirits)
These dancers are the sorcerer protectors. They are armed with
weapons such as the Gabagab (clubs) and Gagay Thayak (bows
& arrows). These warriors are head-hunters who appear before
the sorcerers, imitating movements of their totems. This is called
Awgadhadh Tadimik.

Awgadhadh Tadimik is a way chasing away the bad spirits. They imitate
their totems as they clear the grounds and check for enemies, by making
a fine sound with their lips. This is called Musi-Poeybi. They also connect
with the unseen holy protectors of the spiritual world.

Mawa Girelal (Sorcerer Dances)
Mawa dancers are the best dancers. Teaching of such dancing is
conducted and taught in places where women and children are
forbidden. This sacred meeting place is called the Kod.

Awgadhal A Adhil (Totems & Legends)
Many stories and legends are told through the art of dancing. Torres
Strait Islanders are traditionally connected to the coastal villages of
Papua New Guinea by many stories. Ubiri Kubiri (shown on the bottom
left of print) is a story of a pet crocodile from the village of Buzi but has
connections to all the people of the Koedalaw Buway (Crocodile Clan).

The Zugubaw Baydham (star constellation shown on the left of the
print) also connects us to the Naygay Dagam Dhawdhay (PNG). Many
dances tell about the Baywa (whirlwind), the Kisay/Moelpal (Moon) and
Malu Awgadhal (sea totems).

This print is contained by traditional Zenadh-Kes Melanesian designs.
Every pattern represents the knowledge of my culture. This print shows
the languages of the nations that makes my culture unique.
These nations are;
Guda Maluyligal – Top Western Torres Strait Islanders
Maluyligal – Mid Western Torres Strait Islanders
Kulkalgal – Central Torres Strait Islanders
Kemer Kemer Mariam – Eastern Torres Strait Islanders

Alick Tipoti
Zenadh-Kes, Melanesian 2011

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Alick Tipoti

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Torres Strait Islands


Editions Tremblay NFP, Cairns QLD


Theo Tremblay