2018/0012 Apa mawa

Apa mawa

Artist

Brian ROBINSON
Torres Strait Islander/Indigenous
Birth:
1973
 in
Waiben (Thursday Island), Torres Strait, Queensland

Artwork

Title
Apa mawa
Date
2015
Medium/Material
mixed media
Dimensions
200.0 x 100.0 x25.0cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Credit line
Purchased 2018
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession Number
2018/0012
Currently on display (GALLERY 9 in GALLERY BUILDING)

Share

Extended Label

Artist StatementApa MawaIn the beginning, the spirits and deities had created the Islander world, ensuring human existence and offering protection in return for ritual homage. Those rituals, elaborate in preparation and performance, stimulated creation of the finest art forms in Torres Strait – the ceremonial mask. The mask was the medium by which Islanders could evoke spiritual protection during war, hunting, initiation and cult practices and increase ceremonies, which meant continued abundance of food stock.Connected to the spirit world through these ceremonial masks, these magically charged objects were the bolts of lightning through which otherworldly spirits and ancestors could interact and influence the human world. This labyrinth was ventured into only by the initiated few, those who could speak with the Gods, the powerful spirits called Zugubal who influenced the seasons, the winds and the waters, and who can be seen in the sky as stars, even today - great and powerful star constellations such as Baidam and Tagai which are formed by several thithuyil including Pleiades, Orion, Scorpio and Crux, the Southern Cross, to mention a few.Mask were a central component to ritual observance across the Torres Strait and in the Top Western Islands wooden masks [obtained through trade and exchange that were then adorned with Zenadh Kes cultural and kustom paraphernalia and markings] were used.This particular mask called Mawa, which translates from the Western Island language of Kala Lagaw Ya as witch doctor or sorcerer was worn when the gardens were ready for harvesting. The presence of this mask along with magical rites and performed ceremonies ensured good crops and was a form of thanksgiving to the gods and kin, past and present.Throughout the islands, ritual, religion and magic reinforced the repetitive unchanging nature of the subsistence society for the Islanders and entrenched their traditions – traditions that influenced life, customs and culture. Totemic objects were created to appease spirits and deities, to ensure success in hunting and warfare, to influence personal relationships or to bring harm to enemies.Spirits and gods did not exist on a separate level therefore they were not beyond human understanding and were part of everyday life. Deities were identified with certain rocks, trees, pools and caves, and manifested themselves in the form of birds, reptiles, sea creatures and other animals and could, at will, assume human form or that of any other creature.

Artist statement, 2018In the beginning, the spirits and deities had created the Islander world, ensuring human existence and offering protection in return for ritual homage. Those rituals, elaborate in preparation and performance, stimulated creation of the finest art forms in Torres Strait – the ceremonial mask. The mask was the medium by which Islanders could evoke spiritual protection during war, hunting, initiation and cult practices and increase ceremonies, which meant continued abundance of food stock.Corrected to the spirit world through these ceremonial masks, these magically charged objects were the bolts of lightning through which otherworldly spirits and ancestors could interact and influence the human world. This labyrinth was ventured into only by the initiated few, those who could speak with the Gods, the powerful spirits called Zugubal who influenced the seasons, the winds and the waters, and who can be seen in the sky as stars, even today – great and powerful star constellations such as Baidam and Tagai which are formed by several thithuyil including Pleiades, Orion, Scorpio and Crux, the Southern Cross, to mention a few.Masks were a central component to ritual observance across the Torres Strait and in the Top Western Islands wooden masks (obtained through trade and exchange that were then adorned with Zenadh Kes cultural and kustom paraphernalia and markings) were used.This particular mask called Mawa, which translates from the Western Island language of Kala Lagaw Ya as witch doctor or sorcerer was worn when the gardens were ready for harvesting. The presence of this mask along with magical rites and performed ceremonies ensured good crops and was a form of thanksgiving to the gods and kin, past and present.Throughout the islands, ritual, religion and magic reinforced the repetitive unchanging nature of the subsistence society for the Islanders and entrenched their traditions – traditions that influenced life, customs and culture. Totemic objects were created to appease spirits and deities, to ensure success in hunting and warfare, to influence personal relationships or to bring harm to enemies.Spirits and gods did not exist on a separate level therefore they were not beyond human understanding and were part of everyday life. Deities were identified with certain rocks, trees, pools and caves, and manifested themselves in the form of birds, reptiles, sea creatures and other animals and could, at will, assume human form or that of any other creature.

< Back to search
Vernon id: 23761