My struggle with my own Indigenous identity led me to create ways of engaging my children in their cultural heritage. I began writing short stories to help them relate to the culture they belonged to, if only by name. The romance of island life, the beautiful sea creatures and the habitat they lived in was always part of the inspiration and narrative for these stories.
As an artist, I wanted to offer a fresh look at Indigenous Artwork beyond the stereotypes. I wanted to capture everything I loved about the Torres Strait Islands, the tiger shark – my totem, the beauty of the pearls, the abundance of the fish in the ocean and the wisdom and flexibility of the Octopus.
To connect all these things I wrote a story about a warrior ~ Tjindgarmi (pronounced Jind-Gar-Me) who in a former life was the twin brother of the tiger shark, known as the protector of the greater community and even respected by his enemies.
What do we associate with warriors ~ a shield.
Many civilisations around the world have a connection to shields and through this story I wanted to spark an interest in the people I descend from and honour their memory.