Evolution: Torres Strait Masks
Free exhibition | WA Maritime Museum entry fees apply
Experience special insight into the role of masks in Torres Strait Islander culture, the reaction of the early maritime explorers to this cultural practice, and the rituals that brought these amazing masks to life in this incredible travelling exhibition.
Evolution: Torres Strait Masks showcases the rich history of mask making in the Torres Strait Islands (Zenadh Kes), located between Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea.
WA Maritime Museum is proud to present this fascinating exhibition which takes visitors on a journey from time immemorial when masks were used in ceremonial rituals throughout the 274 islands that spread across some 48,000 square kilometres.
Evolution is a travelling exhibition from the National Museum of Australia developed in partnership with the Gab Titui Cultural Centre on Waiben (Thursday Island) and assisted by the Australian Government's Visions of Australia program.
Ancient masks—Kuyuku Zamiyak (head piece)—are unique to the world. They possess powers which allow one to channel and connect with another realm. They were worn only by recognised spiritual leaders of the highest rank who had the ability to communicate with the ancestors of the spirit world.
Gain special insight into this deeply spiritual practice of mask making revived by eight proud contemporary artists and master craftsmen who want to share this ancient culture and connect us to their spiritual forefathers.
This fascinating exhibition features 12 striking masks, objects and other related cultural materials that will teach you and your family about the:
- Evolution of the mask in Torres Strait Islander culture
- Reaction of the early maritime explorers to this practice
- Many cultural protocols inherent in creating a mask
- Performances and rituals that brought the masks to life
- Tools, techniques and materials used in mask-making
- Ways masks influence contemporary art forms today
Header images: George Serras, National Museum of Australia
Special exhibition events
Tuesday 5 July | 10am – 11.30pm, 2pm – 3.30pm
Sunday 10 July | 2pm – 3.30pm
Join us for a screening of Ailan Kastom, meaning 'island custom', as we celebrate Torres Strait Islander culture during NAIDOC Week 2022.
Physical access information to WA Maritime Museum is available online, including ACROD parking information, entry information, access within the site, equipment available and more. Find out further details.
You can contact WA Maritime Museum through the National Relay Service:
TTY users phone 133 677
Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727
Alternatively, use the National Relay Service website.
Book a general admission ticket online or by calling 1300 134 081. This is recommended if you wish to visit on a particular day.
Walk-up entry is available each day with no booking required. However, you may experience a wait time during busy periods such as weekends
For groups of 10 or more, please contact 1300 134 081.