Lei It On

Lei in contemporary art practice from the Torres Strait Islands
Saturday, 24 June, 2017 to Sunday, 27 August, 2017

Segar Passi, Helen Dick, Garee Kaigey, Mary Kaigey, Rita Lui, Beverley Mabo, Helen Mabo, Delina Noah Messiah Luzab Lera Kaubo Arsir (The whole island of Mer, making things, making lei) 2017
Canvas, acrylic paint, thread, synthetic wadding, silk linen, shell, plastic, silver sheet, enamel paint, copper sheet, copper tube, acrylic felt, nylon cord, coral, kulap seed, wongai seed, steel coated wire
170 x 107 x 12 cm (variable)
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria
Photo: Michael Marzik

This year the Cairns Art Gallery is presenting three diverse exhibitions for the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF): Daniel Boyd: Bitter Sweet; Greg Semu: BLOOD RED; and Lei it on: Lei in contemporary art practice from the Torres Strait Islands – an exhibition presented in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria.

Exploring the lei as an inherent symbol of identity and cultural meaning, the exhibition presents over forty unique artworks. From large scale sculptural lei to intimate and delicate wearable pieces, the works have been created by Torres Strait Islander communities in workshops run by CAG and the NGV on Thursday Island, Saibai Island, Erub (Darnley Island), Mer (Murray Island), Mua (Moa Island) and Badu in early 2017. Supported by the Gab Titui Cultural Centre, the workshops focused on creative expression, building meaningful connections with Torres Strait Islander communities and supporting artists in the creation of lei and body adornment for the NGV and CAG permanent collections.

The artists incorporated both customary and contemporary materials including shells, feathers, seeds and plant fibre through to found and recycled objects, promoting cultural identity, contemporary making, collaboration and creative expression.

Opening 12 July to coincide with the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.