Syd Bruce Short Joe

Background Info

Date of Birth: 27/04/1964

Totem: Blue Tongue Lizard

Language: Wik-Iiyanh

Clan: Wik Mynah

Biography

Syd Bruce Short Joe was born in the Aurukun mission 1964. His tribe is Wik Mynah tribe and his traditional country is North East and inland of Pormpuraaw. Syd's traditional saltwater totem is the bull shark and his freshwater totem is blue tongue lizard. His people are freshwater people. The people from this part of Cape York often speak 4 to 6 Indigenous languages. Syd speaks 9 languages plus English.

He grew up in Pormpuraaw and learned the Thaayorre  language of the traditional owners. As a teenager he lived among the Kugu, his great grandmother’s people, and learned those languages. He shares his knowledge with his nephews, family and community. He is a cultural scholar and a national treasure. Syd is the respected president of our management committee. He assists the magistrate by working as a volunteer interpreter and mediator. He is welcome at the campfires of many different tribes because he can speak their languages, and respects their laws.

Art is a new language for Syd, and he sees it as a way to share and express himself with a wider audience. His prints, paintings and ghost net sculptures celebrate his rich culture and personal wisdom, and tell the stories that inform his unique identity.

My art is a bridge from my people’s way to the outside world'.

Due to his printmaking ability, Syd is known as 'Mr Lino'. He is also called the 'General bull shark' because of his leadership at Pormpuraaw Art Centre. He started at the Centre in 2010 and has produced a large volume of work. He has been the main inspiration for two books published at Pormpuraaw Art Centre, titled 'Pormpuraaw Totems' and 'Pormpuraaw Art and Culture'.

His stories and work have been featured in two NITV shows, and his art is on permanent display at Canopy Art Centre in Cairns QLD, Tali Gallery, NSW, and Alcaston Galley, VIC. He exhibits at  the annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

The Australia Museum in NSW has purchased his  ghost net sculpture titled 'Mundha' (Shovel Nose Ray), and this work along with three others are being exhibited at the museum. Syd was the main consultant and storyteller for a documentary produced by the Museum which is based on crocodile sorcery.

Group Exhibitions

2019 CIAF - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair - Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal , Cairns QLD
2019 Artists from Pormpuraarw, Queensland: New Ghostnet Weavings & Paintings - Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne VIC
2019 Sea Change, Tree Change, Changing Together - Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne VIC
2018 Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art - Art Fair - Tandanya, Adelaide SA
2018 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair - Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin NT
2018 CIAF - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair - Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal , Cairns QLD
2017 Australia: Defending the Oceans - United Nations Exhibition, Musée d’ethnographie de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
2017 Department of Foreign Affairs Exhibition - Canberra, ACT
2017 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair - Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin NT
2017 CIAF - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair - Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal , Cairns QLD
2017 Australia: Defending the Oceans - United Nations Ocean Conference, New York USA
2017 Australia: Defending the Oceans - Paris Aquarium,Paris, France
2016 CIAF - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair - Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal , Cairns QLD
2016 Tabba Nabba - Oceanic Institute, Monaco
2015 CIAF - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair - Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal , Cairns QLD
2013 Sea Change, Tree Change, Changing Together - Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne VIC
2012 Pormpuraaw Art- Permanent Display 2012 - 2018 - Canopy Art Space, Cairns QLD
2012 Saltwater, Freshwater: Art from the people of Pormpuraaw - Paintings & Prints - Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne VIC

Collections

National Museum of Australia, Canberra ACT
National Museum of Australia, Canberra ACT
Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns QLD

Bibliography

2018 Pormpuraaw : stories, art, language. [Pormpuraaw Arts & Culture Centre Inc.] Pormpuraaw, Qld : Pormpuraaw Arts & Culture Centre Inc © 2018
2016 Pormpuraaw: Cultural Uses For Plants. [Pormpuraaw Arts & Culture Centre Inc.] Pormpuraaw, Qld : Pormpuraaw Arts & Culture Centre Inc © 2016
2014 Pormpuraaw, Qld. : Pormpuraaw Arts & Cultural Centre Inc., ©2014

Themes

Clan Totems

Crocodile Story

Fish and ocean animals

Mediums

Acrylic on Canvas

Print Making

Artefact

Acrylic paint on plywood

Ghost net, Plastic Trellis and Twine

Awards

Best Sculpture CIAF 2019