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National Museum of Australia

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Linocut of diving helmet titled 'Au Karem ar Araigi le' by Ellarose Savage, 2012


Linocut of diving helmet titled 'Au Karem ar Araigi le' by Ellarose Savage, 2012

Object information

Physical description

A linocut on cream-coloured paper with feathered edges top and bottom, imprinted with black pigment, depicting a diving helmet with various scenes of ocean life incorporated into the picture. Annotations pencilled below the imprint read '18/50 "Au Karem ar Araigi le" ERSavage [signature] #2012#'.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of one lino cut print on paper titled: 'Au Karem Ra Araigi le' (Diver of the deep sea). The artist, Ella Rose Savage, is from Erub Island in the eastern cultural group of islands in the Torres Strait. The print of the diver's helmet illustrates elements of the story of her Father's diving career.

Many Islanders worked in maritime-based commercial activities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This print illustrates the story of Torres Strait Islanders? close connection with the waters around their Islands, and the experiences of diving for pearl shell. Ella-Rose Savage composes narratives of industry, harvest and risk in the shape of a diving helmet, a reflection of the thoughts passing through a diver's mind as he goes about his job collecting pearl shell, Bêche-de-mer or Trochus shell. Diving helmets were used as regular ?tools of the trade? in the Far Northern pearling industry until the 1960s. Pearl shell, in the post-contact period, was widely sought after for buttons for the European fashion market. Ella-Rose Savage documents her interest in expressing her relationship with the sea and the links between her surroundings, objects and culture. This print also documents her Father's experiences as a diver, one of the many who worked in the dangerous waters of Torres Strait.

Object information

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