ROBERT TOMMY PAU, 'John Douglas', 2021, linocut on somerset velvet white 300gsm 100% cotton, 75 x 59.5 cm
"John Douglas, former Premier of Queensland, replaced Henry Chester on Thursday Island in 1879. He empowered the Island Council with local magisterial judicial power. He was a progressive liberal who believe in the progress happening in the Torres Strait that kept them out of the paternal Act,” The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897”. He argued that Islander did not need paternal care but more open markets. Douglas died in 1904 and Islanders were subject to the Act which they refer to as, “The Dog Act”."
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.