Joel Sam, Thulup au thoner (stingray season)
Edition of 35, 2008
Published by Djumbunji Press KickArts Fine Art Printmaking
Image size: 540mm x 1540mm
Paper size: 730mm x 1740mm
Paper type: Hahnemühle 350 GSM
Ink type: Van Son
Printed by Theo Tremblay
Joel Sam's family lives in Bamaga and originates from Saibai Island. Born on Thursday Island he currently lives in Cairns, having finished his art studies in 2005 with a Diploma of Art from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Visual Arts Course at the Tropical North Queensland TAFE. Over the last 4 years he has been developing an art practice and technical skills in the medium of the linocut. Joel's artworks are inspired by his culture, and the images are of sea creatures that live in and around the Torres Strait, such as turtles, dugong, the fish of the reef and the shells and corals of the Coral Sea. The squid (bidthai) represents a main food source, which Torres Strait Islanders hunt most of the time. Joel is a regular exhibitor at KickArts, and Djumbunji Press KickArts Fine Art Printmaking is publishing several of his new prints.
Artwork story: My artwork and images are based on my culture and heritage, which are derived from the sea. As a Torres Strait Islander from the Sui-Baidam (Shark) clan of Saibai Island, we rely on the sea and its inhabitants for food, economically and spiritually.
Thulup (stingray) are a delicate food source to Islanders. The Thulup is a significant identity to Islanders as a totem in which Islanders identify as belonging to the clan group.
This particular print describes the cycle of the Thulup which appears at the start of the turtle mating season (Solwal) around September. When Solwal is over, the Thulup makes itself obscure by sinking and burying itself in sand, causing dust and ripples in the sand. It camouflages itself from other predators until the next Solwal - it's a cycle repeated!
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