Ubbur is one of a suite of lithographs created by the artist in 2012 from stones and plates that depict the more abstract or ephemeral aspects of Torres Strait Islander life and culture. This print is the trial proof – the very first piece printed of the series.
Ubbur are the nostrils of the dugong. These are represented by the semi circular shapes seen in the print. The two at the top are those of the dugong herd leader,Tana Lie. Those seen towards the bottom are those of the other dugongs in the herd.
The imagery evokes night time on one of the many reefs scattered throughout the Torres Strait Islands where Tana Lie is communicating with the other dugongs in the herd and instructing them to move to another reef.
This communication is heard as a whistling sound which is represented by the vertical elements emanating from the leader’s nostrils and filtering down the print to the other dugongs.
This phenomenon is heard by hunters on the reefs at night and is an important observation in the successful capture of this traditional food source.