Coming of the Light: Torres Strait Islands


Nancy Bamaga discusses the importance of the Coming of the Light to Torres Strait Islander people.

The Coming of the Light is a holiday celebrated by Torres Strait Islanders with the 1st of July 2021 marking its 150th Year Celebration. The Coming of the Light recognises the adoption of Christianity through island communities during the late nineteenth century. Torres Strait Islanders living on the islands or on the mainland come together to honour this anniversary every year. Islanders of all faiths celebrate the Coming of the Light in a festival like no other in Australia.

Nancy Bamaga is a Curtin University graduate with links to the Thabu/Samu Clan from Saibai Island in the Torres Strait. She is regarded as one of Australia’s leading Community Management and Cultural Development Practitioners.

Diane Moon is Curator, Indigenous Fibre Art, QAGOMA

Segar Passi, Australia b.1942 / Waier; Dauar 2015; 2014-15 / Synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen / 140 x 140cm; 140 x 260cm / Purchased 2015 with funds from Anne Best through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Segar Passi

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Acknowledgment of Country
The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Gallery stands in Brisbane. We pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present and, in the spirit of reconciliation, acknowledge the immense creative contribution First Australians make to the art and culture of this country.

It is customary in many Indigenous communities not to mention the name or reproduce photographs of the deceased. All such mentions and photographs are with permission, however, care and discretion should be exercised.

Featured image detail: Segar Passi Waier; Dauar 2015; 2014-15

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