Kursi: Malu Yawa Garka

Brian Robinson
Kursi: Malu Yawa Garka, 2019
Palight plastic, enamel spray paint, shell (cowrie), feathers (cassowary), raffia, wooden bead, shark tooth, plastic toy, 75 x 200 x 51cm


Kursi: Malu Yawa Garka are words spoken in the traditional Torres Strait dialect of Kala Lagaw Ya, the language of the Western Islanders. It translates into English as Hammerhead shark: Ocean guardian.

What great mysteries lie beneath the rolling waves of the sea? For centuries, Humans have mused upon what might await them in those murky depths, drawn by fear and fascination in equal measure. If you thought sunken shipwrecks loaded with treasures and surrounded by swarms of flesh-eating sharks only existed in pirate tales, think again.

Sharks are the natural choice for mythological figures and awesome tales, since they are steeped in mystery, well-known and feared among many. The mighty hammerhead shark is a consummate predator that uses its oddly shaped head to improve its ability to find prey.

This work also pays homage and shows respect for Bala (Dr) Kenneth Thaiday and the amazingly articulated dance headdresses that are the cornerstone of his arts practice. Ken is a connoisseur of Torres Strait dance, which continues to be the most powerful visual expression of indigenous culture in Australia. It combines dance, theatre performance and visual art in graceful cohesion with each other.