Print: Zugubal by Alick Tipoti, Torres Strait, E93625

Zugubal is plural for Zugub. These beings occupied the islands scattered over the sea. In western Zenadh Kes - Torres Strait they looked like humans, but were not ordinary humans.

Zugubal by Alick Tipoti: Print E93625

 © Australian Museum

In this linocut print a group of mythical beings, Zugubal, travel in their canoe. Ancestral spirits are looking on and guiding the navigators. Constellations transform from one stage to another through their journey, from the Southern Cross through to Corvus (Raven) and Scorpio.

The lavishly carved background is organically united with the Zugubal and their canoe. The firmament contains numerous accessories, symbols and meanings, related to the pre-Christian tradition of Zenadh Kes culture and its rich tradition of narratives. They inspired artist Alick Tipoti to reflect on and document the tradition of his nation in linocuts. His images are populated with forefathers, ancestral beings, land and sea creatures, artefacts and spirits, all interwoven into the sky, sea and the islands. All representations and symbols in his images are united by the stories that Tipoti ardently learns and retells to his people and his viewers.

Born on Thursday Island, Torres Strait in 1975, Tipoti studied visual arts and adopted linocut as his favourite medium. The artist considers images as the best form of preserving, propagating and narrating the identity of his culture, Kala Lagaw Ya, of the Maluilgal (mid-western islands of Torres Strait). Tipoti has been given the traditional name Zugub, allowing him better insights into ancestral spirits. He interprets their stories superbly in beautifully crafted prints, imbued lyrically with past tradition.

Tipoti has received numerous prestigious awards including the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award 2003 and 2007. His artwork has also been exhibited in London and New York, cementing his reputation as a prominent Torres Strait artist.

 


Dr Stan Florek , Database Manager
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