Culture Art and Heritage

Program overview

Protect, promote, revitalise and maintain Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal traditions and cultural heritage.

The cultural traditions, language and knowledge of the people of the Torres Strait are some of the longest enduring in the world.

The Culture, Art and Heritage Program works with communities to support cultural maintenance and deliver arts development initiatives.


  • Ensuring cultural and language preservation, maintenance, development, and promotion.
  • Preserving and promoting Indigenous languages.
  • Expanding the regional arts industry.
  • Cultural heritage education, preservation and maintenance.
  • Protecting copyright and intellectual property rights.
  • Undertaking cultural values and protocols development projects.
  • Integration of community- based cultural and art activities with community and social services delivery where appropriate.

Key activities

Gab Titui Cultural Centre

The Gab Titui Cultural Centre was established in 2004 as the region’s first keeping place, and a gateway for presenting, preserving, promoting and providing information to the public about Torres Strait Islander culture and arts. The Centre services 20 communities in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area and supports artists throughout the region.

Gab Titui Indigenous Art Award

The Gab Titui Indigenous Art Award is an annual exhibition of works created by artists throughout the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area. Established in 2008, the Award aims to promote the distinct style and production of contemporary and traditional art unique to the Torres Strait region, while also giving local artists the opportunity to gain professional experience in exhibition protocol.

The Award has become an important event in the exhibition calendar of the Gab Titui Cultural Centre, featuring guest judges from major national institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Art Gallery of South Australia.

Festivals and partnerships 

Since 2011, the CAH Programme has sought partnerships that provide opportunities for local artists, cultural practitioners and traditional dance teams to participate in major national and international events including:

  • 2023 National NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony, Brisbane, QLD
  • Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, QLD
  • Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, NT
  • Henley Festival, United Kingdom
  • WOMAdelaide, SA

Music and Dance Audit

The TSRA Music and Dance Audit project has been in place since 2007, producing music and dance recordings across 13 communities in the Torres Strait. The project is an important cultural maintenance initiative to preserve language and song throughout the region. Traditional and contemporary pieces are chosen by the community for inclusion on CD/DVD packages, which are made available for safekeeping, sale and promotion through the Gab Titui Cultural Centre.

CD/DVD packages produced to date include:

- Badu Nawul: Traditional and Contemporary Music and Dance from Badu Island, Torres Strait

- Erub Era Kodo Mer: Traditional and Contemporary Music and Dance from Erub Island, Torres Strait

- Iama Wakai Tusi/Voices from Iama: Traditional and Contemporary Music and Dance of Iama Island, Torres Strait

- Kaiwalagal Wakai: Music and Dance from the Inner Western Islands of the Torres Strait

- Mabuygiw Awgadhaw Nawul: Traditional and Contemporary Music and Dance of Mabuiag Island, Torres Strait

- Warraber Au Bunyg Wakai: Traditional and Contemporary Music and Dance of Warraber Island, Torres Strait

- Boeygulgaw Sagulal A Mura Nangu Wakayil: Traditional and Contemporary Music and Dance from Boigu Island, Torres Strait

- Poruma Ngaulai: Music and Dance from Poruma Island, Torres Strait

- Saibai Nangu Wakayl: Music and Dance from Saibai Island, Torres Strait

- Lagau Kompass: Music and Dance from St Paul’s Community, Moa Island

- Keriba Ged: Traditional and Contemporary Music and Dance from the Murray Islands, Torres Strait

CD/DVD packages of music and dance from Masig Island and Kubin Community, Moa Island are currently in production.

Torres Strait Dance Strategy

The strategy aims to provide a strategic approach towards promoting and developing dance within the Torres Strait.

Community Cultural Planning Project

The project establishes a community owned and managed Cultural Plan for individual communities in the Torres Strait.

Each plan aims to identify and record information about the demographic, historical and cultural assets of each community, and to plan a path forward to capitalise on any assets.

Cultural Plans have been completed in the communities of Erub and Poruma.

Torres Strait Arts Development Plan

This plan aims to support:

  • a skilled and professional Torres Strait Islander arts industry
  • a regular supply of diverse Torres Strait Islander art to all identified markets, with a focus on high-quality work
  • an increase in Torres Strait Islander art sold across all markets.

Art Centre Support

The TSRA has supported the establishment of art centres on three islands in the Torres Strait:

  • Erub Erwer Meta (Erub)
  • Badhulgaw Kuthinaw Mudh (Badu)
  • Ngalmun Lagau Minaral (Moa).

We continue to provide support such as operational funding and activities including governance training, art skills development and exhibition opportunities to art centres in the region.

Art Skills and Product Development Workshops

These workshops provide training to build skills in communities and create economic opportunities for artists.

Targeted workshops aim to develop intensive skills in areas appropriate to individual communities, determined by level of interest, access to resources and sustainability.

New skills are applied to product development and market tested through the Gab Titui Cultural Centre Gallery Shop.

Recent artist workshops include traditional skills of carving, weaving and drum making, and contemporary skills of painting, printing and 3D design.