ARTIST IN RESIDENCE 2018 – 2020
Peter Bertie Morrison was born on Thursday Island and grew up in Cairns. After he finished school, like many Torres Strait Islanders at the time, he moved to Western Australia to work for many years, before he returned to his family’s place Wug Village, Saint Paul’s Community on Moa Island in the Western Island Cluster.
“This is where I learnt our traditional customs, on the island. My mother is from Darnley Island and her tribal group is Zagareb, which is on Murray Island. My father is from Mabuiag Island, he worked as a Skipper and Pearl Diver on the lugger boats around many Islands.
Family is important to me. I am very passionate about learning and teaching and I hope my images will inspire and help others appreciate the beauty and significance of our natural environment.”
Morrison commenced studying at TAFE in 2010 and has completed Certificates and a Diploma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts. He works across drawing, etching and fabric design.
He completed technical and business training through KickArts/ NorthSite Contemporary Arts in 2018 and has been an Artist in Residence since, completing over fifty unique drawings of marine and plant life of the Torres Strait.
The Kibim Black fish, it reminds me of when I was up St Pauls Island, just first time back to the Islands and went for a swim and saw all these fish in the mangroves and I just fell in love, just looking at them.
Kibim and Mullet, we use to be up in Weipa and just on the weekends going out and we use to just catch them on the line, Blackfish, Parsa, and oh it’s so nice.
Ah yes the Warukaz, it’s a little turtle. We was in Dampier and hunting for Dugong and we use to see them things and the Trumpet Shell is a very unique sort of shell and I’m just wrapped every time I’m drawing it, I just love it.
Ah yes the Sea Urchin, I love drawing it, it’s very fine lines and it keeps me concentrating and I just love the fine lines.
The Thag and the Kibim. Thag is the mangrove and the Kibim is that fish and they just use the mangrove to protect themselves from bigger fish.
The Red Hoya, it lives on the beach on the sand and it’s very green and it’s just entwined on the trees and on the beach, near the beach. I just loved to draw it because the leaves and the vines and the detail of everything.
Just the drawings, I love the lines and the shells, the shapes of them and the patterns on the shells, it’s beautiful.
The two sea urchins here have different patterns and they all have different shapes and lumps on them. I just tried to put them in the water, ah yep, I love them.
The Thag Mangrove at High Tide, you see all the shells come out and stick onto the roots of the mangrove tree, the Thag, and all the fishes swim in-between the roots for protection.
The Tree of Life. I saw it in a book and I just loved the community it brings to the environment all the animals come to the tree and everything, that’s the Tree of Life, the birds, the insects everything comes this tree and it’s very big. It’s just nice, I like drawing trees and leaves and the scenery.
Yes, the Low Tide Thag Mangrove, you can see the roots and everything, the water goes out and the Mangroves still there, stuck in the mud. Beautiful trees, I love them, it’s just protection for little animals, crabs and insects what I’ve got there in the trees.
Thag Mangrove New Life, the seeds, they fall into the water if it’s high tide or low tide. If it’s high tide, the pods float away to another area and breed there or grow there and low tide the pods just fall down into the mud and start another mangrove.
The Estuary Rock-Cod is when I first back came to the islands, I went diving and my first fish was a little brown Estuary Cod and cooked it up. We call it Sabi Sabi, it’s curry, curry fish.
Ok, Kurop Potato Cod, I just love drawing them, they’ve got good design, a lot of patterns, very detailed work I like. Um yes, and it just fascinates me to just draw, I love the lines and to see what will comes out at the end.
Thag at Low Tide, it just reminds me of over in Western Australia, over in Point Samson we go hunting for turtle or dugong, but when we come back it’s low tide and just seeing the countryside change, it’s beautiful hills, rocks and just plain mangroves.
The Dthani Tree, Fig Tree, beautiful tree, lived in Grafton St and there was a big tree across in Munro Martin Park and we use to every afternoon after school go over and play on the tree. The fruit on the tree you can eat just like a chewing gum, the wax from the tree, you just like eat it like a chewing gum, it’s just a playground. The root flowers on the fig tree, you can just blow it up, just make a little balloon, and it’s just a flower from the top of that plant.
The Red Gum, I love drawing trees. I’m just learning to refine my art. I love the leaves, branches in fine detail.
Thag Mangrove Tree, it’s just full of life. The fruit of the pods on the mangrove fall down high tide and fishes all around. Just I love drawing the detail of the tree, all sorts of roots, vines.
Ok the Cowsira Pandanas, remind me of my mum and us kids going into the bush at Machans Beach and we all looking for this tree with prickles on it and just go and pick it up, break it from the tree, put it in a bundle, take it home, dry it out, get all the thorns from the side, it’s a very mildless sort of just making mats, house mats for home, you can do anything for it I think.
Cowsira Pandanas again, just love the trees, and the leaves falling up, and falling down I mean, going up. You see them on the side of the beach and sea front, anywhere there’s sand or rocks, it’s a marvellous plant.
Kibim and Parsa Black Fish, they’re both related, they’re like cousins. They all live in the environment on the mangroves and the little shells, well we call it Pennywinkles I think, Pennywinkles and you can eat em, boil it up, they all come out at high tide.
Ah yes, Kibim and Mullet, just drawing I just love to see the fish outside of the drawing in a bubble, it looks at you, it’s more clear if you put it into the mangroves, at that space at the back.
Yeah Thag and Kibim, just like drawing, I just started off drawing the tree with the pencil and the fish, the fish has it’s space, I draw the fish with the space, but I draw the tree first, and with detail and then I drew the fish after.
Thag Mangrove Tree, I just did little lines from the other drawings I did, just make it a little bit thinner and just incorporated with the fish swimming through it.
The Cuttlefish is a very unique animal, where it lives, they way it can change it’s shape and lights up it’s body. I am starting to like to draw the reef, where it lives, drawing movement and the shape and the line and the pattern is what I like most in my pictures.
This drawing, for every other drawing I did, I like just like putting everything in one, so the seeds, the pods, the fishes, the shells, penny winkles, everything.
Kurop, Potato Cod, What I like about this drawing is the pattern all over the fish, the species is a protected animal. The shape on it’s back and it’s face appeals to me.
The Wongai Tree Two, legend say if you eat the fruit of the Wongai Tree, you will return to Thursday Island. First of all the old Wongai Tree, the way it leans over, the leaves in the picture and the landscape I love drawing. First of all the old Wongai Tree fell down a long time ago and a new one has grown there now. What I like about this drawing, the shading the leaf and the leaning of it’s branches.
The intricacy is astonishing. Lovely work.
from Graham Leggat
‘brilliant Uncle Peter – must be viewed up close. too good.
A wonderful show Peter made even better by listening to you talk about your beautifully sensitive drawings, thank you.
from Jennifer valmadre
Stunning work – you’re a gem
from Simon Aurisch
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