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Top 3 reasons to incorporate Torres Strait Islander art into your designs

Torres Strait Islander culture is an avenue that is not as well explored as Aboriginal culture in the country of Australia. When people think of the Indigenous people there, the imagery and knowledge of such a group is monopolised by those that lived on the mainland of Australia. There are many reasons for this but the result is that the other segment of the indigenous populated termed 'Torres Strait Islander's' is rarely considered by the general population of Australia and indeed the world. 

Torres Strait Islander culture is different to Aboriginal culture but similiar in some respects. The main difference is seen in the customs and traditions that exist where circumstance from island living has influenced their way of life. 

1. Torres Strait Islander culture is rich and abundant in the diverse customs and traditions, a lot of which are still practiced today. The stories that permeate the different tribes and islands in the Torres Straits are often portrayed in their artworks which is a happenstance of a people used to passing on stories and knowledge through 'word of mouth'. By incorporating these artworks into designs for products, publications or even in advertising mediums, these stories get a platform to be shared and preserved and the creations get a substance to them that they might have otherwise lacked. 

2. Torres Strait Islander artworks are stunning and unusual. Artwork coming from the Torres Straits is influenced a lot more by the lifestyles and environment of the artists. Therefore, their artworks usually depict tales of the sea and its inhabitants, and the relationship the islanders have with it. This results in works that are busy and highly detailed. The style of painting is quite distinctive with its sharp lines, shading and sudden bursts of colour. 

3. Torres Strait Islander artists and their tribes themselves have such diverse and important stories. The Torres Strait Islands is comprised of about 274 small islands and this has provided a lot of opportunity for the establishment of different customs and practices amongst all of the different groups of people. An example of this would be the artwork of a man named Michael Nona which represents a custom in his family. The custom involves a man picking two hibiscus flowers and putting one behind the ear of the woman he deems is his soul mate to show his romantic intentions. 

References: Korff, J 2019, Torres Strait Islander culture, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/torres-strait-islander-culture> 

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