We grew up with our grandfathers and uncles telling stories through song, dance and art. We would watch them do carving and water painting, telling Saibai tribal stories passed down through generations.
This is why through my own artwork I continue to pass on the stories of our ancestors. Though our fathers and grandfathers have lived on the mainland, Saibai Island is our heritage; it is where the bodies of our great ancestors are buried, it is where their spirits are, it is still our home.
Every piece I create tells a story about our ancestors or our way of life. We know the names of the winds, the stars and the seas. We know how, when and where to hunt. We know where the spirits live and we know the language to speak to them.
Though traditionally our people used only carving and water paints to pass on these stories, I want to learn new techniques and explore new mediums to keep our stories alive for future generations. I also teach language and dance, composing my own songs and choreographing traditional Saibai style dances. I want to make our ancestors proud that their culture is still strong.
We must respect our heritage, our culture and our ancestors. We must keep it alive.