This explicit and graphic story of warrior brothers, Waii and Sobai, has been retold by Aidan Laza, an elder of the Wakaid people on Badu Island, together with translator and renowned artist, Alick Tipoti, also a Badu man from the Torres Strait.
A man cannot be recognised as a warrior in the Torres Strait Islands until he survives a battle with a native enemy. This story tells of life on Torres Strait Islands before the coming of the missionaries. The leader of warriors from Tudu seeks to challenge the two brothers, known as the greatest fighters of the western island group. A fierce battle ensues but the brothers emerge victorious after brutally annihilating their enemies and re-establishing their dominance and reputation across the islands. Intricate ink, pencil and muted watercolour illustrations trace the warriors’ journey, detailing the landscape, weapons and traditional clothing and head-dress of the period.
The bilingual text is in the indigenous Torres Strait Island language of Badu Island, Kala Lagaw Ya and English.
Aidan Laza was one of the Elders of the Wakaid tribe on Badu Island in the Torres Strait. He told traditional stories of the islands’ forefathers to younger generations, guiding their hearts and minds towards an understanding of their own culture. These stories helped to foster pride and maintain the traditional chains binding all Torres Strait Islanders as one.
Illustrator Alick Tipoti is from Badu Island in the Torres Strait and has become known as one of the region’s most innovative artists and internationally renown for his artwork. He draws on traditional Torres Strait religious stories and events from the past for his lino prints, where legendary heroes appear along with weapons of war, dhoeri headdresses, masks, drums and other artefacts associated with ritual dance and ceremony