Badhulgaw Kuthinaw Mudh

Torres Strait Islander Art from Badu Island
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Home / Artists / JOSEPH AU

Joseph own personal symbols - 3 characteristic marks which represent each of his children, the Totem of his mother and late father (Dugong and Crocodile) and Badu culture.



2 September 1975

Joseph Au is one of the founders of the Badu Art Centre and together with Laurie Nona and Alick Tipoti was amongst the small group who decided to lobby to create the Badu Art Centre in the early 2000's. Joseph’s continued involvement in the functioning of the Centre and dedication to cultural maintenance have been integral to the ongoing success of the Centre.

Before the Centre was established Joseph would work using a borrowed press and rollers to create prints on the verandah of his house. Since the creation of the Centre Joseph continues to participate as a senior artist creating, exploring and developing his own artistic practice whilst assisting, guiding and mentoring emerging artists. He also currently holds the position of Chairperson of the Badu Art Centre Board of Directors.

Joseph aims to ensure the Centre remains as a place to gather, record and preserve information and stories through various art mediums for future generations to see and explore culture and history.

Joseph is a natural carver and considered a master carver of wood and shell. This has leant well to lino print making. He acknowledges that he is still learning lino techniques and asserts that there is always an opportunity to learn more. He has recently explored colour reduction lino print making techniques which has given him the opportunity to experiment with different colours throughout his work. His imagery always includes his own personal symbols; three characteristic marks which represent each of his children, the dugong and snake totems of his late mother and father, and the crocodile and dog totems of Badu Islands’ Wakaid clan.

Joseph is a passionate family man and continues to impart knowledge of his culture to his family, community and broader society. He is in many ways the rock of the art centre providing fellow artists with support and a generosity that makes him loved and respected by all.

Joseph’s fine art prints are in numerous major galleries and private collections.

We will continue to preserve [our culture] whether it be in artworks or story telling or dancing. If you have an opportunity to visit Badu Island, do so, and we will make you feel comfortable and share with you our culture and everyday lifestyle…we’ll make you feel welcome and you’ll see for yourself we are striving to keep our culture strong.”