WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait

Glen MACKIE (Kei KALAK) 'Kuaka' 2011 vinylcut 110.0 x 80.0cm Les Renfrew Bequest Newcastle Art Gallery collection Courtesy the artist
29 May - 22 August 2021
10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday, 7 days during school holidays

Free exhibition

The narrow stretch of water between the land masses of Zai Dagam Daudai (Australia) in the south and Naigai Dagam Daudai (Papua New Guinea) in the north is home to a seafaring race of Indigenous people - Torres Strait Islanders; whose spirituality is derived from their ancestral ties to the land, sea and sky.

WARWAR is a traditional Eastern Island word in the Meriam Mer language, which translates into English as ‘marked with a pattern’. The exhibition WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait developed with renowned artist and curator Brian Robinson, showcases the contemporary arts practice that has developed within the Torres Strait and in cities scattered across the Australian continent. It explores issues of cultural maintenance, Christianity, language and the impact of globalisation on the physical environment of the Torres Strait Islands.

WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait showcases the evolution and strength of Torres Strait Islander tradition and society through arts practitioners from the 19th Century to the emergence of the contemporary art traditions of today. Works of art drawn from Newcastle’s collection will be displayed with newly created works and key loans from, local, state and national institutions, artists and private collections.

Exhibiting artists include Joseph Au, Toby Cedar, Grace Lilian Lee, Glen Mackie, Billy Missi, Laurie Nona, Brian Robinson, Ken Thaiday and Alick Tipoti.


Coming of the Light
Thursday 1 July
To mark the 150th anniversary of The Coming of the Light, Torres Strait Island community members will host a free lunchtime concert of hymn singing. 

Curator and Artist Talk
Saturday 3 July, 2.00pm - 3.00pm         
Join Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton, guest curator Brian Robinson and local artist Toby Cedar for an in-depth Curator and Artist Talk exploring the development of this significant exhibition.

School Holiday Workshops: Torres Strait Island Flag
Monday 5 July - Friday 9 July
Creyoung artists learn about the Torres Strait Islander flag before creating their own design using coloured sand.

Saturday 10 July
On the final day of NAIDOC Week, enjoy a Gallery-wide celebration including traditional dance performances, demonstrations and workshops.

Closing Weekend Event
Sunday 22 August
A family-friendly, celebration of mark the closing weekend of the exhibition WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait. 

To see our full offering of exhibition related events, visit our WHAT'S ON page. 

Toby CEDAR Op Nor Beizam (Shark Mask) White 2018 bamboo cane, twine, raffia, pearl shell, acrylic paint, feather object 80.0cm x 56.0cm x 31.0cm Les Renfrew Bequest 2019 Newcastle Art Gallery collection

Glen MACKIE (Kei KALAK) 'Kuaka' 2011 vinylcut 110.0 x 80.0cm Les Renfrew Bequest Newcastle Art Gallery collection Courtesy the artist


  • Exhibition entry FREE



Newcastle Art Gallery
1 Laman Street
Cooks Hill