Badhulgaw Kuthinaw Mudh

Torres Strait Islander Art from Badu Island
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Tipoti Nona is a carver with superb skills.



15 February 1977

Tipoti Nona is a carver with superb skills. Amongst his many beautiful achievements Tipoti has produced a most wonderful collection of miniature carved Dugong from the heel section of the 'mother of pearl' shell.

As a master carver, he works quietly at his home and often spends days visualising the depth of the shells he is about to carve and working out in his imagination where the best opportunity to produce a beautiful and sensuos carving lies.

The result of his painstaking care and scrutiny are magnificent. A commercial jeweller was recently breathtaken to learn that his carvings were hand polished and not by a high end commercial grade device. Tipoti also has made a number of moves into other carvings - including much larger 'Bailer Shells".

This work is ambitious and intricate in design and is testament to Tipotis skill. Carving the shells has to be done with great care as the removal sections can weaken the overall integrity and strength, creating a delicate balance between the form of the design and the overall structural strength of the shell. Although in his mid thirties, Tipoti has spent decades both on and in the ocean. He is an accomplished cray fish diver and hunter.

This is apparent when experiencing the touch and translucency of his carvings - which unlike some are beautifully simple and capture the pure life essence of his subject.