Ricardo IDAGI, GiriGiri Le (Bird of Paradise Man) Enlarge 1 /2
  1. 186517.jpg 1/2
  2. 186517_a.jpg 2/2

Ricardo IDAGI

Meriam Mer people

Mer (Murray) Island, Torres Strait Islands, Queensland, Australia born 1957

GiriGiri Le (Bird of Paradise Man) 2008 Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, assemblages, turtle shell, turtle flake, pearl shell, mussell shells, human hair, raffia grass, coral, wicker cane, goa nut, saimi saimi seeds and natural earth pigments

Dimensions: 117.0 h x 80.0 w x 11.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2008
Accession No: NGA 2008.945

Like his uncles and grandfathers, Ricardo Idagi is a songman, painter and carver. Born in 1957, he is from Meriam Mer (Murray Island) in the Torres Straits Islands in Queensland, and much of his work relates to the species and spirits that live beneath the waves of the Arafura and Coral seas that surround the islands.

Idagi has a strong vision and commitment to revive traditional knowledge and techniques—in particular, the old mask-making practices—to ensure an ongoing strong artistic and cultural pride in the region.

The artefacts and cultural traditions of the region inform his art. However, Idagi’s work is not a pastiche of pre-missionary practices, or a nostalgic recreation of the past; rather, he seeks to revitalise what was, on many of the islands, denied to Indigenous inhabitants after European arrival. Idagi also continually questions the gaps in the knowledge of his elders and peers, as well as the cultural practices that have become distorted by Christian ideology.

I am very keen to initiate a creative art force in the region that uses the existing knowledge of the men and women in their areas of expertise as well as instructing the younger generations in the sourcing of materials … weaving and binding techniques … I have a vision to revitalise the original methods and integrity behind Torres Strait Islander culture pre-missionary contact.1

Masks such as GiriGiri Le (Bird of Paradise Man) 2008, which are made from the shells of green sea turtles, have not been produced for over a century. Although on the protected species list, the turtle is still captured, killed and eaten by Torres Strait Islander people, as they have done for centuries. As an Islander, Idagi is able to access this rare material, combining it with traditional knowledge and modern techniques to produce stunning large masks reminiscent of pre-missionary times.

In this work, Idagi has combined two types of ceremonial wear—the hard shell masks and the feathered headdresses called dhoeri—in a modern interpretation of once more-prevalent cultural objects. This combination, or interpretation, of the past is what sets Idagi’s work apart from the work of other Torres Strait Islander artists today.

Tina Baum
Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art
in artonview, issue 58, winter 2009

1 Ricardo Idagi, in conversation with Vivien Anderson Gallery, 2008


in artonview, issue 58, winter 2009

Like his uncles and grandfathers, Ricardo Idagi is a songman, painter and carver. Much of his work relates to the animal species and spirits that live beneath the waves of the Arafura and Coral Seas that surround the Torres Strait Islands. Idagi has a strong vision and commitment to revive traditional knowledge and techniques—in particular, the old mask-making practices—to ensure an ongoing strong artistic and cultural pride in the region. However, his work is not a pastiche of pre-missionary practices, nor a nostalgic recreation of the past; rather, he seeks to revitalise what was denied to Indigenous people after European arrival. Idagi also continually questions the gaps in the knowledge of his elders and peers, as well as the cultural practices that have become distorted by Christian ideology.

Masks such as GiriGiri Le (Bird of paradise man) 2008, which are made from the shells of green sea turtles, have not been produced for over a century. Although the turtles are a protected species, the traditional rights of Islanders are respected and they continue to capture, kill and eat turtles today, as they have done for centuries. As an Islander, Idagi is able to access this rare material, and using traditional knowledge and modern techniques he is able to produce large masks such as this. Idagi has combined two types of ceremonial wear—the hard shell masks and the feathered headdresses called dhoeri— in a modern interpretation of cultural objects that were once more prevalent.

Tina Baum


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

里卡多·爱达吉 (Ricardo Idagi)
《吉瑞吉瑞(天堂鸟人)》(GiriGiri Le (Bird of Paradise Man)) 2008年
澳大利亚维多利亚州墨尔本
装饰艺术与设计,装配艺术品,玳瑁壳、龟片、珍珠贝、蚌壳、人发、拉菲草、珊瑚、柳条藤、果阿壳、saimi saimi种子、天然颜料
117.0 (高) x 80.0 (宽) x 11.0 (深)厘米
2008年购买
收录号:NGA 2008.945

像叔伯祖父一样,里卡多·爱达吉集歌手、画家和雕刻师于一身。他的作品大部分与生活在环绕托雷斯海峡群岛的阿拉弗拉海和珊瑚海浪涛下的动物物种和精灵有关。爱达吉颇有远见并致力于传统知识与技艺的复兴,尤其是面具制作实践,以确保维系该地区强烈的艺术与文化自豪感。然而他的作品既不是欧洲宗教到达前实践的模仿画,也不是对过去的怀旧;相反,他力图使欧洲人到来后土著人被剥夺的东西重获新生。爱达吉也不断质疑长辈与同辈人之间的知识差距,以及已经被基督教意识形态扭曲的文化实践。

《吉瑞吉瑞(天堂鸟人)》制作于2008年,这类用绿海龟壳制作的面具停止制作已经一个多世纪。虽然海龟是保护物种,但岛民的传统权利得到了尊重,他们今天像沿袭成百上千年的那样继续捕获、杀死和食用海龟。身为岛民,爱达吉能获得这一珍稀材料,使用传统知识和现代技艺,制作这样的大型面具。爱达吉结合了两种仪式着装——硬壳面具和叫做dhoeri的羽毛头饰,对曾经更为流行的文化对象进行现代诠释。

Tina Baum
蒂娜·鲍姆


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra