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Play Things

Dance Machines from the Torres Strait Islanders

Tom Byra Mixie Mosby

KEN THAIDAY, Shark Dance Mask, 1996, dance machine, collection Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, photograph David Becker

The development of contemporary art in the Torres Strait Islands is still in relatively embryonic stages, with active collecting by art institutions having begun only in the last few years. Collection of traditional Islander objects as 'art' currently centres around a specific type of sculptural form unique to the Torres Strait Islands, objects loosely termed 'dance machines' or, in the vernacular, 'playthings'. Theseā€¦

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