The Australian Embassy Manila celebrates Australia’s rich indigenous heritage with Gelam Nguzu Kazi – Dugong My Son, a striking collection of artistic works from the Kubin community of Mua Island in the Torres Strait, north of Australia’s mainland. The exhibition will run from 20 July to 2 August at the third level, Bridgeway Gallery, of the Yuchengco Museum.
It is the first exhibition of limited edition linocuts by the artists of the Mualgau Minaral Artist Collective from Mua Island in the western Torres Strait. Drawing on their carving traditions, the exhibition’s artists have pioneered a unique style of Torres Strait art to tell their ancient history and stories in contemporary form. Gelam is also an important body of work through which the artists explore their social and physical environment, reclaiming and reaffirming their culture for future generations.
The Australian Government values and supports the unique contribution indigenous artists make to the identity of Australia’s culturally diverse society and through this exhibition hopes to increase international understanding of the diversity of indigenous Australia and in particular the unique traditions of the western Torres Strait.
The exhibition has travelled to Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Laos and Vietnam and will be on view in Manila until 2 August before it leaves for Thailand. The exhibition has been prepared for international touring by Artbank, the Australian Government’s art rental program in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Highlighting the collection is the visit of multi-awarded artist Billy Missi of the Mualgau Minaral Artist Collective who will share with Filipinos the rich culture and artistic heritage of the Torres Strait Island people through artist talks and lecture-demonstrations. His distinctive and expressive art has been displayed in Australia and internationally, and has been collected by significant Australian museums, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and in the United States.
The artist talks and lecture demonstrations will be held in cooperation with the Printmakers Association of the Philippines (PAP), a group of the country’s most respected artists and 2001 National Commission for Culture and the Arts Lifetime Achievement Awardee for their outstanding efforts in promoting the art form. Printmakers and enthusiasts can catch Billy Missi’s artists talks at the Yuchengco Museum on 30 July at 2 pm together with the PAP’s Ambie Abano; and on 1 August at 2 pm with Pandy Aviado, Phil Delacruz and Raul Isidro of the PAP. Not to be missed is the lecture-demonstration on 31 July at 1 pm at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts.