Kerr Kerr is a medicinal plant used to heal sick babies. The juice from ginger plants, collected from mountain tops on Badu Island, is squeezed into a container shell (Alup). The healing ointment is applied to babies’ skin who are weak from a cold or who have a tropical skin disease (Zurr), usually between the months of September and October. This treatment was practiced a long time ago in the Western Torres Strait islands and was passed down to me by elder James Eseli. If it is applied once a day for a few days, the baby will be cured. Often my ancestors visit me in a dream and inspire me to take a new technical approach.
In this work the application of the treatment and the baby’s back are compressed into one image. The swirling patterns (Minnor) at the bottom represent the continued rubbing action, while the diamond patterning in the top half marks the disease on the babies skin. The middle shows the activity of the disease, moving under the skin.