The performative print: Alick Tipoti's Girelal

In his epically scaled print destined to hang in the 2012 Sydney Biennale Alick Tipoti has brought to visual realisation the songs and stories of his Torres Strait Islander heritage. Tipoti’s work stems from the spiritual and cultural traditions of his native language, Kala Lagaw Ya, of the Maluilgal nation of Zenadh Kes. In the continuing innovation of printmaking by Torres Strait Islander artists, Tipoti, born in 1975, develops the language of the linocut to the scale of a performance. His latest large-scale work Girelal (2011) is over 8 metres long and presents traditional dances and associated figures on a stage-like setting. The complex interweaving of figures and designs reveals the cyclical connections between natural phenomena, the physical movement of dance and the spirit world of the ancestors.

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