Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi - Exhibiting Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art

Alick Tipoti

A Leader in the Rebirth of Torres Strait Islander Culture

Born. 1975. Thursday Island

Alick Tipoti is considered a leader in the rebirth of Torres Strait Islander culture. He is the first Torres Strait artist to have been chosen to exhibit at the Biennale of Sydney (2012) and is currently working on a major commission, Guthathaw Ulakal, for the Thursday Island Chronic Disease Centre. He has recently returned from an Indigenous leadership program in the UK.

Alick constructs modern versions of customary Mawa masks. Traditionally these masks were worn by the descendants of Ay Waii of Badu Island in powerful ceremonial performances and were created from the shells of Hawksbill turtles. Today however, Alick uses fiberglass brilliantly to replicate the turtle carapace; he also carves intricate traditional Torres Strait Island Melanesian designs into linoleum and vinyl blocks for prints on paper.
Tipoti has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2003 and 2007. His artwork was exhibited in London and New York, cementing his reputation as a prominent artist. More recently in 2012, his work has been included in the 18th Sydney Biennale in Australia and the prestigious UnDisclosed National Indigenous Art Triennial (NIAT2), held at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and in September, his work will be included in the Korea International Art Fair (KIAF). Also in 2012, he was awarded Artist of the Year in the NAIDOC Torres Strait Islander awards.

At once contemporary and traditional, youthful and steeped in the past, instinctual and possessed of analytic rigor, TIPOTI is a man suspended between distinct cultures and reflective realms. The upshot is a new kind of Islander art, modern in its techniques, rich in customary knowledge, replete with veiled, half-submerged themes. Nicholas Rothwell 2009


ACGA - Australian Commercial Galleries Association