ROBERT TOMMY PAU, 'Strike', 2021, linocut on somerset velvet white 300gsm 100% cotton, 46.5 x 75 cm
"When Islanders planned to strike against the government boats, known as Company Boats, the narrative that was told to us was they wrote the word strike on brain corals at well- known pearling grounds. This clandestine movement was against the Dog Act that took power away from the Island Council to government residents, namely teachers on the islands. They rule with draconian authoritarianism. The results of the 1936 Strike was that the government put the island council back in power and remove the government resident from the islands."
Tommy is a descendant of the Eastern Torres Strait Islands, Australian Aboriginal, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islander and Asia. He speaks Torres Strait Creole and Australian English. He was taught about the need to keep culture strong through cultural practice by his father. He has a strong commitment to keeping old traditions alive and believes that culture must remain true to the past and move with time to exist in the future. Tommy has considerable experience in the arts and his art forms of choice include printmaking, painting and sculpture.