Evolution: Torres Strait Masks

Travelling exhibition

Sat 26 Oct 2019Sun 2 Feb 2020


Museum of Geraldton

Evolution: Torres Strait Masks showcases the rich history of mask making in the Torres Strait Islands (Zenadh Kes), located between Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea.

WA Museum is proud to present this free and fascinating exhibition which takes visitors on a journey from time immemorial when masks were used in ceremonial rituals throughout the 274 islands that spread across some 48,000 square kilometres.

Evolution is a travelling exhibition from the National Museum of Australia developed in partnership with the Gab Titui Cultural Centre on Waiben (Thursday Island) and assisted by the Australian Government's Visions of Australia program.

Ancient masks—Kuyuku Zamiyak (head piece)—are unique to the world. They possess powers which allow one to channel and connect with another realm and were worn only by recognised spiritual leaders of the highest rank who had the ability to communicate with the ancestors of the spirit world.

Gain special insight into this deeply spiritual practice of mask making revived by eight proud contemporary artists and master craftsmen who want to share this ancient culture and connect us to their spiritual forefathers.

This fascinating exhibition features 12 striking masks, objects and other related cultural materials. You and your family will learn about the:

  • Evolution of the mask in Torres Strait Islander culture
  • Reaction of the early maritime explorers to this practice
  • Many cultural protocols inherent in creating a mask
  • Performances and rituals that brought the masks to life
  • Tools, techniques and materials used in mask-making
  • Ways masks influence contemporary art forms today

While you’re here, explore the Museum’s galleries which celebrate the rich heritage of the land, sea and people of the Mid West region. Discover ancient landforms, Yamaji history and culture, and the region’s unique natural landscapes and marine environment.

Evolution: Torres Strait Masks.
Free exhibition – on now at Museum of Geraldton.