Zugubau Mabaig

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The image holding the two stars represents a Zugubau Mabaig (Western Torres Strait name for Astronomer). This Special Zugubau Mabaig is a Keeper of star constellations such as Tagai, Zugubau, and Awai Tituil. The Zugu-Bau Mabaig had been taught in the kwod to read the star constellation. They use the stars as indicators, and tell their Buai (kinship group) the right time for hunting expeditions at sea and for planting and harvesting their gardens. Today the sacred knowledge is still passed down the generations through oral tradition, songs and dances. This is represented by the image of the drum echoing the sacred teaching.
  • Medium: Linocut. 
  • Artist: David Bosun. 
  • Image Size: 140 mm x 250 mm. 
  • Paper Size: 280 mm x 380 mm. 
  • Paper: Magnani 350gsm. 
  • Edition Size: 55

Torres Strait Island artist David Bosun is from the tribe of Wug on Moa Island and grew up in a very sensitive cultural environment. From the age of four he practised traditional dancing and singing. He first became interested in art in grade six after participating in an art class at school. David attended Thursday Island Secondary school and later moved to All Saints and St Gabriel’s Anglican college on the mainland. During high school, he was always in trouble for drawing in class instead of doing his work. In 1996, he took a visual arts course at the Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE. In 1997, when David returned to Moa Island, he met up with his childhood friend Dennis Nona and realised that the career he had been looking for was in fact what had always got him into trouble at school.

David believes that future generations in the Torres Strait and beyond need to be educated about the rich heritage and distinctiveness of Torres Strait culture. He is striving to record and illustrate his ancestral beliefs and traditions through the visual and performing arts. David has also been a member of the Royal Australian Army Reserve and is currently a Councillor with the Torres Strait Island Regional Council. He is a founding member of the Mualgau Mineral Artists Collective, which was very influential in popularising Torres Strait Islander art in Australia and internationally. David’s work can be seen at the National Gallery of Australia, Australian state art galleries and several important overseas art institutions.

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