The Bu or Trumpet shell played an important role in traditional Torres Strait Islander life. Not only was it a food source but it was also blown like a trumpet to summons the villagers together or to warn of impending danger.
The shell was dried and a hole fashioned in its tip. Different size shells that made different sounds were used depending on the nature of the gathering.
The artist has created a series of six etchings that depict the Bu in which different Island totems have been incised. These totems can be seen in the in the rock caves which are sacred places for people of the artist’s island of Badu.
This particular print shows the Samu or Cassowary. The bird is not native to the island and is an introduced or adopted totem through marriage that is known in language as Tyrradi Zig Aguhal.