Australian Art from the Torres Strait Islands
“Zamiyakal, or ‘dance machines’ are objects used in the Torres Strait. They are called machines because they have many parts that can be twisted and moved, which helps to make the dance come alive. Each island has its own dances and its own Zamiyakal.
“This one is called Kugub, and it is used in dances about the god-like spirits who once lived with the people on the islands, but who now live in the stars controlling the weather and the seasons on earth.”
Patrick Thaiday, born on Waiben (Thursday Island) explains his ‘Comet’ (Dance machines) pictured below:
“Comet kuikuipikal titui is my interpretation of the Comet in our language.
Comet is like the head lady to the other stars, the one that leads the way. She appears only once every seven years, and everyone comes out to see her beauty, like a Bird of Paradise.
She moves so gracefully, with passion and pride like a mother followed by her children, one after the other, as she moves across the night sky.”
The above Dance Machines were part of the recent ‘Land, Sea and Sky’ exhibition at GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane) featuring the works of Torres Strait Islanders.
Did you get to see it?
What was your favourite?
The head dresses… prints… woven baskets… sculptures…
or these beautiful dance machines?