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QM explores Island Futures for Zenadth Kes

Culture, climate and connection explored in Queensland Museum’s new exhibition, Mirage, 25 June 2021

A powerful new exhibition opening today at Queensland Museum will give a voice to Torres Strait Islanders and their quest to save their homes from rising sea levels, climate change and understanding what home will look like in the future.

Island Futures: What lies ahead for Zenadth Kes is a FREEexhibition designed to raise awareness of the challenges facing the islands, while also acknowledging the ongoing resilience and contributions made by Torres Strait Islander communities to Queensland’s cultural landscape.

From the tip of Cape York to the borders of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait) covers an area of 48,000 square kilometres and more than 200 islands.

Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson said visitors to Island Futures will have the opportunity to learn about the richness and diversity of Torres Strait Islander culture.

“It’s been a great privilege for the museum to have the generous collaboration and support of Torres Strait Islander communities and individuals in the development of this exhibition,” Dr Thompson said.

“This exhibition demonstrates the important role Queensland Museum plays in creating spaces for increased representation, visibility and participation for First Nations people and communities.”

With more than 200 objects and images on display from Queensland Museum’s Torres Strait Islander collection, visitors will also be able to see a number of works from well-known artists including cinematographer Murray Lui, artists Dylan Mooney, Christopher Bassi, filmmaker Margaret Harvey, photographer Kantesha Takai, and a new commission from world-renowned Erub Arts.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Island Futures an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the cultural stories of Queensland and to spark conversations about the increasing challenges of climate change and rising sea levels.

“This exhibition represents another positive step forward in the way Queensland Museum together with arts and culture sector can work with communities to share the stories, knowledge and culture of First Nations Peoples,” Minister Enoch said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to elevating First Nations arts as a priority in the delivery of Creative Together 2020-2030, a 10-year roadmap to renewing and transforming Queensland through arts, culture and creativity.”

Torres Strait Islander and exhibition co-curator Rhianna Patrick, said the exhibition also marks the 150th anniversary of the Coming of the Light – the introduction of Christianity throughout Torres Strait on 1 July.

“Torres Strait Islanders living in the islands or on the mainland come together to honour this anniversary every year, celebrate this day of major significance,” Rhianna said.

Island Futures provides a wonderful platform for our community to tell our stories, showcase our rich art and culture, and for visitors to understand the challenges facing the Islands.”

Island Futures proudly supported by Principal Partner Ergon Energy Network and Energex as part of Energy Queensland.

Energy Queensland Executive General Manager Services Belinda Watton said Queensland Museum has continuously provided locals and visitors to this state with some of the most amazing exhibitions and island Futuresone is no exception.

“As supporters of the Museum for 15 years, we are proud of their ability to provide exceptional quality exhibitions that not only are visually impressive but convey Queensland stories in a way that everyone can understand and empathise,” Ms Watton said.

“And we believe Island Futures has a bright future showcasing the diversity and vibrancy of Torres Strait Islander culture.”

To celebrate the opening weekend of Island Futures: What lies ahead for Zenadth Kes? Queensland Museum will be hosting a number of FREE talks, performances, and workshops by Torres Strait Island artists on Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 June from 10 am – 2 pm.

There will be performances by Argan Bay Dance Team, weaving workshops, contemporary dance performances, poetry reading, and panel discussions.

Island Futures: What lies ahead for Zenadth Kes is a FREE exhibition, located on Level 2 at Queensland Museum, and opens on Friday 25 June 2021 until 25 April 2022.

See also: United Nations set to decide climate claims by Torres Strait Islanders against Australia