Ricardo Idagi

  August 29, 2014 - December 21, 2014



Gurari – Saltwater Drinker brought together sculptures by artist Ricardo Idagi that served as a visual memoir of Mer (Murray Island), Idagi’s home in the Torres Strait. The sculptures are made of a wide variety of materials, from raffia and feathers to beer cans and wrought iron. The works comment on political and social issues facing Torres Strait Islanders today, such as multigenerational alcoholism and the impact of the Anglican mission on the Island. The exhibition also honors the rich cultural heritage of Meriam people and Idagi’s own personal resilience. This exhibition was presented in partnership with Australia Council for the Arts and Vivien Anderson Gallery.


Ricardo Idagi was a resident artist at Kluge-Ruhe in September and October of 2014. He worked with sculpture students taught by Professor William Bennett in the McIntire Department of Art, demonstrating the making of a dari headdress, specifically focusing on the techniques of weaving cane and manipulating feathers by cutting and bending them. He guest-lectured to other UVA classes, present several community talks including one to City Clay, and led a community art project at McGuffey Art Center during their monthly open house.

“If you have a lot of fear, you can’t build anything, you know? …Build your art and make your art without fear. Without fear you can do anything.” – RICARDO IDAGI


Ricardo Idagi at Kluge Ruhe Collection, UVa, Oct 4, 2014. Photo by Tom Cogill.

Ricardo Idagi is a Magarem man who grew up on Mer (Murray Island) in the Torres Strait and Townsville in north Queensland. He was encouraged to produce art by Eddie Koiki Mabo, who is known for winning Native Title rights to Mer Island in 1992. Idadi took a commercial art course at Cairns Technical and Further Educational Institute and settled in Melbourne in 1997. He has been included a number of major exhibitions and has won two prestigious Australian art awards: the Western Australian Indigenous Art Award (2009) and the New Media category of the 28th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (2011). His work is held in major public Australian collections.



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Ricardo Idagi: “Gurari – Saltwater Drinker” by Kira Randolph