Adi Buya: Sacred Stones from Our Island Home

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The two Saibai warriors moved like stealth through the night. Their canoe cut through the black glass of the Torres Strait waters and slid soundlessly onto the sandy shore. Through the bush they could see a light shining. They had seen it before, a light that wasn’t a star or fire, a light that was something else entirely. Parting the branches before them, they saw the source of the glow. A stone.

The legend of Adi Buya, a glowing stone taken from Papua New Guinea, is passed down even to this day. It is told that two warriors saw the stone and recognised it’s power, battling many warriors to bring it back to their Island home.

Before battle the warriors would rub oil on the stone to make it glow and each warrior would touch his arrow or spear head to the stone for luck in battle. These warriors then seemed impervious to their enemy’s fire, seeming to become invisible and blessed with the ability to make impossible shots.

“Many years later, in the 1800s I think, there was an English professor who on a visit to the Strait saw the stone glowing in the dark,” NPA Artist Vincent Babia explains, “he took it back to England with him, and that must be where the stone now rests.”

 Vincent tells the story of Adi Buya through a large lino carving, stretching 3m in length. He hopes to carry on the tales of his clan Ait Koedal through his work.

arts November 2013 009 copy