ROBERT TOMMY PAU, 'First Anglican Graduates', 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 91.5 x 122.5 cm
"This artwork is to celebrate the 150 years of the Coming of the Light in 2021.
The artwork’s aim to iconize an historical event in the Torres Strait when the Anglican Church took over the London Missionary Society’s work in the Torres Strait. They built their first seminary at St. Pauls, Moa Island.
The artwork is of the first two graduates: Poi Passi and Joseph Lui.
I have appropriate the Byzantine style of icon painting, therefore, I did not attempt a portraiture painting but to capture, celebrate and memorialised an event of Torres Strait and Torres Strait Islanders’ Christian heritage.
I have the figures stand and sit on their traditional pillars of Malo’s laws and of Jesus as the King of the Jews. I choose this photo because all the religious work in the Torres Strait was done by Torres Strait Islanders after the initial missionary works by their South Sea and Pacific Islanders lu giz ( grandparents)."
Courtesy of the artist.