Stock Works 8

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62 AM 8699/12
George Nona Ariew Baiib Minaral Dhoeri (Rain Cloud Headdress) 2012
Feathers, pandanus twine, cassowary feathers approx, Frame 600 x 1000mm
45 x 67cm

There are many forms of Torres Strait headdresses. In the Western Islands these headdresses are called dhoeris. Historically dhoeris were worn during ceremony, rituals and tribal wars, while today there are only worn by dancers on ceremonial occasions.

The form of dhoeri I have created was once used during traditional ceremonies and war. I have constructed a dhoeri very similar to the ones that were made in the past.

This frame was mostly used in the Eastern Islands. It was rarely used in the West, but when it was, an eagle feather was inserted in the centre of the dhoeri. This was done so that the maker could signify whether the wearer was a leader or a scout. The eagle feather was also inserted for spiritual reasons which I cannot disclose.

The rain cloud has been incorporated into this particular design. Songs and dancers connect this dhoeri to the rain cloud which is a natural phenomenon that islanders relate to physically, mentally and spiritually.

The feathers are cut like fish tails, representing the fish that inhabit the waters around the islands that we hunt in daily. Cowry shells were once a currency used by Torres Strait Islanders during the headhunting days. Cassowary feathers are incorporated for totemic or spiritual reasons.

The specific details of these dhoeris and rituals have been handed down orally through generations, referred to as Adhimin Tiday (in parables). I cannot disclose the finer details and specific meanings behind this dhoeri for cultural reasons.

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