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Artist: Glen Mackie (Kei Kalak) Language group: Kulkalgal (Yam Island, Torres Strait) Hand-drawn on paper, 2018
The bold minar, or infill-design style in Glen’s work incorporates family totemic designs and his own invented geometric repeating water pattern. He retells the myths and legendary stories he inherited from older family members. This artwork pays homage to women and represents the livelihood and sacred labour of Torres Strait Islander women, often carried out in a group.
The hair comb and Island mat represent the important bonds between the women.
The bridal pendant is made from the shell from the Hawksbill Turtle by the groom and is the equivalent of a wedding ring.
The garden stick and yam represent the time when women study the Tagai constellation in the sky at night to determine the best time to plant yam in time for the first rainy season. It is the job of the younger girls to always ensure the coconut water container is always kept full for the men to take with them when they go out in their boats to hunt for turtle and dugong. If the hunt is not successful, the women dig up the yam and taro from the garden and cook it ready to eat on the men’s return. The garden food is a staple and a back-up.
The coconut scraper is used for scraping the white flesh from coconuts which the women use to make coconut milk and coconut oil for cooking and many other uses (eg hair treatments).
The three frangipani flowers signify marriage, widowhood, being single. Depending where the flower is placed on the head, it has different meanings: In the middle or back of head: a widow On the right: a single woman On the left: a married woman.
Life Apparel Co is a proud advocate and member of the Indigenous Art Code. All Indigenous artworks that feature on the products are 100% authentic. We closely collaborate with and commission Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create product specific, editioned artworks for us. Learn more about our artists here >