Elders inspiration behind Cedar Art

Townsville artist Toby Cedar already has pieces included in National Gallery of Australia collections. IMAGE: Supplied (Toby Cedar)

If you made the trek North for the 2016 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, you may have been lucky enough to visit Toby Cedar’s first solo exhibition.

Toby’s pieces are created with bamboo, feathers, pearl shell, wood and other materials, influenced by his family and Torres Strait upbringing. Toby said his art practice began with headdress making, before he began expanding into modern pieces.

“I initially started creating traditional Torres Strait Island headdresses after being taught the ways of making them by my family Elders, then over the years I began to experiment in doing contemporary works,” said Toby.

“With my contemporary pieces, I usually develop an idea and image in my head of what I want to create – sometimes I will have a lot of ideas come to me at once of how I want different works to look and I will just keep them there in my mind until I come across materials that I think will work well with that project and then begin experimenting until I am happy with the finished piece.

“I am feeling very inspired from hearing different traditional stories from the Eastern Islands of the Torres Strait told by my family Elders and mentors, and from this I am working on creating different totemic masks.”

Although still young, Toby has already had three works acquired for National Gallery of Australia collections and will be an artist worth keeping an eye on in the future.

Where to find Toby’s work:
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 14-16 July (in partnership with Umbrella Studio)
Pop Up North Queensland (PUNQ) Festival 28 July – 6 August in Townsville’s CBD

Instagram: @toby_cedar_art

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