Muluka Pyban (Passing Down)
Recent works by Torres Strait Islander Artist Dennis Nona
Dennis Nona Gubaka 2009
Etching 870 x 1240mm $3500
Gubaka means ‘call the wind’ and is the title of a ceremony performed by women. Gubaka relates to the branches of gabau
(a tree with long, straw-like fronds). The ceremony is performed when menfolk have been at sea, hunting or conducting their ceremonial responsibilities. During these journeys the men might sleep on one of thousands of small, uninhabited islands scattered across the Torres Strait. ‘Calling the wind’ serves two purposes; to inform men that they are missed by their loved ones, and to create optimal sailing conditions for a rapid journey home. The women carefully prepare for the ritual by adorning their heads with matana and takarr (pleasant smelling plants), which are used in a range of ceremonies because their odour is pleasing to the spirits. During the ceremony the women sit in the ocean and beat the water with gabau branches. The circular element in the top-left of the image depicts the sun, which becomes a murky, yellow colour when the winds summoned by the women occur.