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National Museum of Australia

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Kuik colour etching by Dennis Nona

2009.0014.0002

Kuik colour etching by Dennis Nona

Object information

Physical description

A colour etching on paper depicting a skull with a red and black sting, or similar, trailing behind it. The skull has a black nose and the inside features gold designs of figures in a canoe. The numbers '7/45' are written in the bottom left corner. The artist's name 'DENNIS NONA' is written in the bottom right corner.

Statement of significance

The Dennis Nona Collection No 2. consists of four artworks created by renowned Torres Strait Islander artist, Dennis Nona. These include a white brass kuik (human skull) titled 'Byerb Ibaik', two etchings titled 'Pyban' and 'Kuik' and a laser cut laminated wood skate-deck triptych titled 'Lagan Wakkimthimin'. These works were all made as part of the 'Muluka Pyban' (Passing Down) exhibition and are based on histories, cultures and practices of the Torres Strait.

Dennis Nona is from Badu Island in the Western Torres Strait. Known for his highly detailed linocuts, Nona pioneered a new visual language to share the ancient myths and stories of his culture. By linking many elements of a creation story with clan designs, Nona can tell a whole narrative and associate it with its place of origin with one image. In doing so Nona has made these stories accessible to a larger audience and contributed to the social and cultural renewal of Torres Strait Islander cultures. This collection represents important aspects of Torres Strait Islander objects and history that are often difficult to display and discuss including ceremonial practices and the trade of kuik (human skulls). The laster-etched skateboard decks also illustrate the way in which contemorary Torres Strait Islander artists, such as Nona, are experimenting with the use of new mediums in their art.

Object information

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