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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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The Githalai effect II



Glen Mackie


1975 -

Language group

Kala Lagaw, Torres Strait region


'My work retells the legendary stories I inherited from older family members. I’ve been elected as one of Iama (Yam) Island’s storytellers and my mission is to keep alive the sacred stories of the four brothers who travelled from the north before memory and settled in Zenadh Kes, or what most Australians know as the Torres Strait Islands.'

Glen Mackie, who is also known by his nickname ‘Kei Kalak’, has cultural connections to Iama (Yam) Island through his father’s family and to Masig (Yorke) Island through his mother’s. He grew up on Iama Island and was taught to carve and paint by members of his extended family before studying printmaking at Cairns TAFE in the late 1990s. Following this, Mackie began working with Cairns-based master printmaker Theo Tremblay, with whom he continues to collaborate.

Mackie is one of the most well known and prolific Torres Strait Islander printmakers working today. He is recognised for his bold compositions, refined design work and innovative experimentation. Over his career, he has developed a distinct infill design, or minar, which is informed by his family’s design. Mackie also employs an inverted water pattern that is repeated across his works, giving a sense of the ebb and flow of the tides.
Mackie is an expert in the use of kaidarral, or hand-colouring which he uses to to distinguish the main protagonists and elements in his prints, in which art, law and the natural environment are combined to dramatic effect.

This technique emerged in the early 2000s and involves the lino being printed, then the paper and lino are separated (except for the trailing end of the paper which remains in the roller), and the lino is hand-coloured before the work is re-pressed. This method was named ‘kaidarral’ by the artists, meaning ‘the spirit that makes the ripples on the surface of the water’ in the Kala Lagaw Ya language.


Place where the work was made

Cairns Queensland Australia



Media category


Materials used

vinylcut on paper




143.5 x 74.7 cm sheet; 152.6 x 83.8 x 4.2 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, pencil "GMackie '16"


Purchased with funds provided by Vicki Olsson 2017


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Glen Mackie

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history