Dennis Nona

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35 DN537
Dennis Nona Wiwai Turtle Shrine 2017
Wood & other media


Type of wood: Island wood Warup tree (Hour glass drum tree) Media applied: Mangrove bark juice, mosquito medicine tree bark juice, noni tree root juice Gold lip pearl shell, Shark teeth, Red gidi gidi seed, Bush honey wax, Live oyster pearls, Human hair, Shells, Natural bush rope, Goa nuts, Local clay mixed with PVC glue and bondcrete, Stainless steel wire and bolts

This concept is an abstract of a hunting platform that was built on the reef for the turtle and dugongs. In this abstract there is a formation of a canoe, a ceremonial head of two turtles which is known as waru Agudau Kuik, that interprets into heads of the turtle totems and its shrine. The paddles play two main roles in this plate form. Firstly, the sea and land creatures that have been carved like totem poles. These creatures play an important role with the spiritual life, such as using sorcery for hunting out in the sea and usually rituals are performed with ceremonial objects especially as charms. The second role of the paddle is how the turtle hunters use paddles to row out to the reefs in search of the turtles. The trumpet shell above, is an abstract representing a hunter on top of the canoe casting out a ramora fish, which is now attached to the turtle as seen in the sculpture. This was one of the traditional methods of catching turtles from canoes. Our huntings in the past had strict tribal laws call "Sabi". For example, to hunt mainly turtle and dugong, a permission was sought from the Kwod. Kwod is equivalent to a Western Parliament House. The Head clan of the Turtle or Dugong totem, will defend their totem for why it should be hunted and killed. This will be debated, until their will convinces the heads of the Dugong and Turtle clan man. Mainly the reasons were given were for initiation ceremonies and medicinal purposes. Then the totem people will give their consent and usually give the number of how many turtle or dugongs should be hunted on that day. Our traditional laws, customs and beliefs were structured and carefully maintained. This was part of our survival. Punishments were applied to those who disobeyed traditional laws. This was very important to our livelihood. These beliefs are still maintained in our generations and will be pasted down. Although modern technology and outside influences have so much distracted our hunting way of life this is now a great challenge in our present time. Part of our laws have been broken, mainly due to the technology and we had to work around on some of our old ways. For example, canoes where replaced by modern time boats. More turtles and dugongs are hunted for unnecessary reason, such as baptisms , 21st birthdays, to satisfy when you are craving and farewells. In the olden days these wouldn't have been allowed by the Turtle and Dugong clan people.There are traditional Torres Strait Island/Melanesian patterns carved into the whole structure of this Turtle Shrine construction. This was part of our identity call Lagau Minar

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