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Island Futures: What lies ahead for Zenadth Kes? Exhibition at Queensland Museum

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Torres Strait Islanders maintain a strong connection to their land, sea and to their ancestors. The Islanders are facing different threats from rising sea levels, pollution and identity crisis. The exhibition is a great tool for learning about Torres Strait Island culture, traditions, the present and future problems.

Queensland Museum is home to permanent and changing exhibitions and collections about natural history, cultural heritage and civilizations. Island Futures is an exhibition about Torres Strait Islands different issues like climate change, pollution and changing culture.

The exhibition, Island Futures: What lies ahead for Zenadth Kes?, is a journey through Zenadth Kes with Torres Strait Islander photographers who call this beautiful part of the world home. Torres Strait Islanders maintain a strong sense of identity with their land but the reality of rising sea levels is a threat to the continuation of culture.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


Currently, a group of eight Torres Strait Islanders have lodged a human rights complaint against Australia to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. Torre Strait Islanders complained to the United Nations of the violation of human rights, claiming the Australian Government is not doing enough to protect the Torres Strait Island people against the effect of climate change.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


Rising sea levels have already put houses, graves and sacred sites underwater. More places risk being washed away. Freshwater supplies are becoming undrinkable, increasing sea temperatures are also affecting traditional food and changing hunting practices.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


Torres Strait Islanders have the right to practice their culture in their homeland. Their culture has a value that no money could ever compensate for. Their culture starts on the land, connecting with the land and with the sea. When the land is washed away, it is like a piece of them has been taken away.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


Poruma is a tropical island in Australia's Torres Strait Island, also called Coconut Island. It is just two kilometres long and 300 metres wide. This tiny island is becoming smaller due to king tides battering the beaches and coastal erosion. The islanders have a strong connection with their land and sea and fishing is one of the main sources of income.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


Torres Strait Islander Cultural Leaders in the 1980s reclaim the name of their land by creating the acronym Zenadth Kes. The acronym describes with winds and the geography of the Torre Strait Islands: Zenadth Kes stands for ZE -Zey, South; NA- Naygay, North; D-Dagam, Place; TH Thawathaw, Coastline; KES- Passage, Channel, Waterway.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


Torres Strait Islanders are one of Australia's First Peoples. From the tip of Cape York, to the borders of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, Zenadth Kes, Torres Strait covers an area of 48,000 square kilometres and over 200 islands. For those who live and have connections to the 18 inhabited islands and two Northern Peninsula Area communities, this is home.

But home is changing! With the threat of rising seas and more Torres Strait Islanders moving to the mainland, what will home look like in the future?

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


Among the many issues the Torres Strait Islanders have to deal with, there is also pollution. Ghostnets are discarded fishing nets, lines and plastics that are dumped overboard. It's estimated that 640,000 tonnes of ghostnets are left in the oceans globally each year.

In the Torres Strait, this environmental rubbish threatens traditional foods and wildlife, which often become entangled in discarded ghost gear. Turtle species are one such vulnerable group. Six of the seven turtle species in the world use this region as a feeding and nesting ground.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


Visitors can view more than 200 objects and images, along with a number of works from well-known artists including cinematographer Murray Lui, artist Dylan Mooney, Christopher Bassi, filmmaker Margaret Harvey, photographer Kantesha Takoi.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


The exhibition wants you to take a moment to reflect on where you have come from and how you honour those who came before you. Ancestors are the connection to the village, clan, totems, and your island of origin. They are the voices in the wind, the energy underneath your feet and the whispers from the sea.

Not only do they pave the way, they continue to be present. For Torres Strait Islanders, it is in family names, places you live and visit, songs and objects. Ancestors are with you every step. Without them, you lose your way.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides,
Photo by Author.


Old ways are at the core of Torres Strait Islander being. It is a lifelong process of learning and is a presence that is embedded within our soul. Handed down orally through the generations, old ways Inform cultural identity, family and community responsibilities, as well as understanding environments.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides, Pollution, Ghostnets,
Photo by Author.


More than just a physical structure, home is about people, place, purpose, and a connection. That feeling you get when you know you are home. It evolves and changes like we do and reflects who we are at any given time.

Although a room looks like any other, it's not about the material objects you see, but rather what they represent.

As a whole, the room is a vessel, embodying a constant awareness of the past, present and future. It is a relational space where the physical, spiritual, cultural and environmental come together in harmony, showcasing Torres Strait Islander's unique understanding of the world and the future.

Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides, Pollution, Ghostnets,
Photo by Author.


Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides, Pollution, Ghostnets,
Photo by Author.


Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides, Pollution, Ghostnets,
Photo by Author.


Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides, Pollution, Ghostnets,
Photo by Author.


Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides, Pollution, Ghostnets,
Photo by Author.


Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides, Pollution, Ghostnets,
Photo by Author.


Queensland Museum, Brisbane Museum, Permanent exhibitions, Exhibitions, Natural History, cultural Heritage, ZENADTH KES, Torre Strait Island, Torres Strait Islanders, Poruma Island, Climate Change, King tides, Pollution, Ghostnets,
Photo by Author.


Address: Queensland Museum, Located in the Cultural Centre in Grey Street &, Melbourne St, South Brisbane QLD 4101.

23 June 2021 - 25 April 2022
Level 2, Queensland Museum
Free, non-ticketed

References.

www.museumofbrisbane.com.au
www.facebook.com/qldmuseum

More articles about the Author.

Queensland Museum Shop
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Phone: (07) 3153 3000
Where: Located in Cultural Centre, Grey Street &, Melbourne St, South Brisbane QLD 4101
Your Comment
What a fascinating exhibition to feature our cultural traditions
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|5073) 222 days ago
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