1st to 4 November 2018
BADU 2018 MISSION – PACIFIC
A meeting between two worlds
As part of the Monaco Explorations, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco visited Badu island in the Torres Strait, between Australia and Papua New Guinea, and met the Badulgal people, a community living with and from the Ocean, which cares about the Ocean and is concerned about the pressures that threaten this symbiosis.
The course of the mission
H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince was the first Chief of State to visit the island. Accompanied, in particular, by Robert Calcagno, Director general of the Oceanographic Institute, the Prince shared a few days in immersion with the Badulgal people, in order to apprehend the foundations of a culture based on a perception of the world very different from our own.
A long friendship
The visit of the Sovereign Prince responded to the invitation of Alick Tipoti, a committed Badulgal artist. In 2016, at the Taba Naba exhibition, he had created an exceptional work of more than 600m2 for the roof of the Monaco Oceanographic Museum and had displayed a life-sized Dugong bronze.
Alick Tipoti: an internationally recognised artist
Through his art, exhibited in the world’s greatest museums, Alick Tipoti tells how oral culture, music, dance and visual arts permeate each other to provide us with fundamental knowledge on the marine environment, which is essential to the survival of the peoples.
Girelal, which is regarded as the largest linocut in the world, is presented as part of the Badu Island exhibition. The work’s subject is the cultural link between the indigenous people and their spiritual ancestors, the Muruygal. It is made up of traditional Melanesian Zenadh-Kes drawings.
Girelal linocut work, Alick Tipoti © M. Dagnino. Oceanographic Institute
Alick Tipoti bears the traditional name Zugub, which enables him to relate to the spirits of his ancestors, the Zugubal. “When I work late at night carving traditional designs, I can sense the presence of the spirits whom I recognize and verbally thank for their guidance in visualising the words they have given me”.
Another vision of the Ocean
The interdependance between the Badulgal community and its environment (nature supports them and they try to protect it in return), the way they exploit the resources, their knowledge and their practice of the marine world are sources of inspiration for our modern and western societies, as well as for the message delivered by H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince to promote the sustainable management and protection of the Ocean.
The Torres Strait Islands
Located 14 000 km from the Principality of Monaco, at the junction of the Coral Sea and the Arafura Sea between Australia and Papua New Guinea, Badu Island is part of the Torres Strait Islands which have a population estimated at seven thousand inhabitants distributed on fourteen islands. They are the main indigenous population of Australia. Their history is distinguished from that of the Aborigines in particular by their strong ethnic and cultural ties with the neighbouring Melanesian peoples. Known as the ‘People of the sea’ , their daily life is governed by a strong interaction with the marine world. The marine diversity surrounding them, including animals such as dugongs, marine turtles and sharks, governs their traditions and know-how and determines their survival.
Badu, aerial view © A. Fuchs. Monaco Explorations
Locate Badu and the Torres Straite
A photography exhibition
Twenty four panels to discover the exchanges between H.S.H Prince Albert II and the families of Badu Island. Photographs and two magnificent linocuts by Alick Tipoti which highlight the millennia-old culture of this Sea People facing daily the evolution of a rapidly-changing world, and bear testimony to the artist’s sensibility and his profound osmosis with the forces of Nature and the Ocean.
A documentary in progress
Although they live in two seemingly opposed societies, the artist and the Chief of State share a common vision and unite their strengths for the Ocean. This crossed portait will be the subject of a documentary directed by Trish Lake. Its release is scheduled in mid-2020.
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco is surrounded by Nicolas Laurent (to his left), Ariel Fuchs and Robert Calcagno (cap), at the foot of a huge silvery termite mound. © Sylvain Péroumal. Monaco Explorations.
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco,
Mr. Nicolas Laurent (head of mission),
Colonel Bruno Philipponnat (special assistant to H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco),
Mr. Robert Calcagno, Director General of the Oceanographic Institute, Albert 1 Prince of Monaco Foundation,
Mr. Ariel Fuchs (writer),
Mr. Sylvain Péroumal (videographer Terre M’air Production).