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Sazi - Special root



Dennis Nona


1973 –

Language group: Kala Lagaw Ya, Torres Strait region

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Brisbane Queensland Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    etching, blue ink on BFK Rives paper
    50.0 x 32.0 cm platemark; 76.0 x 57.0 cm sheet 18.0 x 61.0 cm platemark; 57.0 x 76.0 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r. beneath platemark, pencil "Dennis Nona 2005".

    Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2005
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Artist information
    Dennis Nona

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Dennis Nona's traditional wood carving skills can be glimpsed in the intricate detail of his prints. There are distinct Melanesian influences in his designs which come from the close ties Torres Strait Islanders have with the coastal peoples of Papua New Guinea to the north. Traditionally drums and other items of material culture are obtained from Papua New Guinea and the designs decorating these objects have been absorbed into Islander culture. Nona's printmaking becomes a form of cultural maintenance through art. Nona's cultural heritage, learnt through storytelling and ceremonies, helped him develop his linocut skills which feature an intricate decorative style based on the rich narrative legends of the Torres Strait Islander people.

    This marine blue etching, produced following the artists Australia Council sponsored residency at Brighton University in 2003 where he explored the etching process, depicts the effect of Sazi in a sea lagoon. Sazi is a special root used by Torres Strait Islanders to intoxicate the fish so that a plentiful catch is easily available. The Sazi root is crushed and its liquid released into the sea lagoon or the inland swamps from where creeks and rivers form. In the swamp there are barramundi, mullet and prawns and in the lagoon there is a wide variety of fish. Sazi root is used especially for community feasting on ceremonial occasions.

    © Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2005

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Dennis Nona