Custodian of the blooms, 2014 is the third wall installation created from the iconic bloom series that extends my investigation into the cultural narratives and traditional customs of the Zenadh Kes Islanders. Across every island in the Torres Strait, flowering and fruiting trees line the streets and surround the communities, growing wild or in garden pots. Hibiscus, frangipani, bougainvillea, coconut, beach almond, mango, banana and even wongai, to name a few, bear garlands and fruit year round. Skill in gardening is dependent on understanding of the four seasons - Kuki (north-west winds), Sager (south-east trade winds), Zey (southerly winds) and Naigai (northerly winds) - including knowledge of the movement of stars, constellations, tidal patterns, and migration of birds and sea creatures. Agricultural fertility also entails a respect for inherited ancestral land and knowledge of how to influence rainfall and the growth of plants through actions, words, songs and the use of figures and stones.
Written by artist Brian Robinson. This text first appeared in the 2017 Tarnanthi Catalogue.