Skip to content

2024 Zenadth Kes Creative Arts Forum: A promising canvas for Our Journey Forward

2024 Zenadth Kes Creative Arts Forum, photo by George Serras

The Torres Strait Regional Authority’s (TSRA) Culture, Art, and Heritage Programme recently hosted the 2024 Zenadth Kes Creative Arts Forum on Thursday Island (17 and 18 April 2024).

This year’s forum, themed ‘Our Journey Forward,’ brought together a diverse group of artists, cultural practitioners and key stakeholders from across the region in a vibrant exploration of the past, present, and future of Zenadth Kes arts and culture.

TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM said it was the biggest gathering of local artists since COVID 2019, and it gave creatives the opportunity to reconnect and provide crucial feedback to the Torres Strait Regional Authority on priorities for the Creative Arts industry.

“The outcomes from the forum will be the foundation of a regional industry strategy,” Mr Stephen said.

“The Culture Art and Heritage Programme will be guided by the forum outcomes to connect with regional artists and industry stakeholders to formalise a strategic plan aimed at growing our region’s creative arts industry.

“Forum participants also attended and shared their artistic skills at the week-long celebrations for the Gab Titui Cultural Centre’s milestone 20th Anniversary.

“Many performed, hosted workshops, and facilitated demonstrations to showcase their artistic talents and craft,” he said.

The two-day forum included panel discussions, breakout sessions and presentations led by industry professionals and esteemed artists. Notably, Alick Tipoti delivered a powerful keynote address that traced his journey as an artist and his visions for the future, setting an uplifting tone for the forum.

“I was honoured to attend and present at the Forum, it felt great to reconnect with all of the artists,” Mr Tipoti said.

“From the start, I encouraged everyone to speak in Youmpla Tok or our traditional dialects to encourage language revival, and ensure everyone felt comfortable.

“I spoke on my journey as an artist, which saw me venture overseas and across the globe, sharing culture and knowledge through my art.

“As culture and art go hand-in-hand, I encourage emerging and established artists to be confident in their own identities, knowing your clan group, totem and winds, and fully immersing yourself in your culture and the oral histories of the Torres Strait to be successful as a Zenadth Kes artist,” he said.

Fast facts:

  • The Culture Art and Heritage Programme operates the Gab Titui Cultural Centre (retail and online shop, galleries, exhibitions, public programs), ensures Cultural Maintenance (Traditional Languages Strategy and Torres Strait Dance Strategy) and Arts Industry Development (art centre support, artist skills, development and education).
  • TSRA, via the Gab Titui Cultural Centre supports three regional arts centres; Badu Art Centre, Moa Arts – Ngalmun Lagau Minaral Torres Strait Islander Corporation and Erub Arts.
  • The Gab Titui Cultural Centre’s 20th anniversary’s week-long celebrations were held from 16-20 April 2024.
  • Artist Jimmy J Thaiday holding a conversation
  • Participants of the 2024 Zenadth Kes Creative Arts Forum
  • 2024 Zenadth Kes Creative Arts Forum

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.