DENNIS NONA

DENNIS NONA’S CONFLUENCE OF ART AND CULTURE

Profound in nature as well as scale, the expansive linocut prints of Dennis Nona demand attention. The intricate lines and gouge marks form a material and tangible representation of Torres Strait myths and legends.

The physicality of Nona’s work is understandable given that he grew up learning traditional woodcarving. An artist since he was a teen, Nona refined his carving skills with linocuts, etchings and sculptures. It’s through these mediums that he documents ancient Torres Strait stories in a visual form. Key to his storytelling is stringing together a series of images bound with patterning to form a whole narrative. This is unlike traditional Torres Strait Islander art, which is typically based on a single image, and more akin to mainland Aboriginal artists.

Nona’s worldliness has led to success both at home and overseas. His work is regarded for its role in regenerating cultural knowledge, practices and language. The patterns, designs and bold imagery in his art are an important device for passing on wisdom that would otherwise rely on the oral tradition and dance.