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7 – 14 July 2024
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Alick Tipoti

Alick Tipoti

Caring for Country and Culture Award

The National NAIDOC Committee are thrilled to announce Alick Tipoti as one of the finalists for Caring for Country and Culture award.

Alick Tipoti is a Koedal (crocodile), a Zugubaw Baydham (seven stars shark constellation and a Kuki Guuba (northwest monsoon wind through his father's side from Badhu. He is a Koedal (crocodile), Thabu (snake) and Dhoeybaw (wild yam) through his mother’s side from Saibai.

He is the head of the Koedal totem through cultural inheritance down the eldest male genealogy line and is known to his people as Zugub meaning spiritual ancestor.

He is a fluent Kala Lagaw Ya language speaker (KLY & KKY dialects), a cultural leader and advisor. Alick is passionate about preserving his native language and reviving cultural traditions through his art and dance, He has been working putting together a language book and aims to have it published by early 2025.

Alick has promoted his culture through art & dance nationally and internally for over 20 years. His artworks are held in major institution collections such as the British Museum, Monaco Oceanographic Museum, Cambridge Museum of Anthropology & Archaeology, National Maritime Museum of Australia, National Art Gallery of Australia and the National Museum of Australia.

Alick has influenced a whole generation of young emerging Torres Strait artists and has significantly revived the art of mask making in the Torres Strait. He believes that art and science are the two most important practices all first nation people should embrace. Art to keep the cultural fire burning and Science to learn about caring for country into the future of global warming and climate change. 

His most iconic artwork presentation was when his work was put on the roof top of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 2016. His latest work will be displayed very soon on two Queensland rescue helicopters highlighting environmental themes such as climate change and marine conservation. 

Alick brings to life his artwork through cultural Torres Strait songs and dance. the first team he founded (Zugubal Dancers 2012-2016) has performed in many places internationally from the U.K to France to Monaco and throughout the Pacific. His most powerful performance was a traditional ritual in 2015 behind closed doors when the Zugubal dancers performed for Torres Strait turtle shell masks (artefacts) collected in the late nineteenth century and were on display at the Cambridge University/Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. 

In 2021, Alick with his wife and four children established their new dance team called Dhamuw Koedal. in a short time, they have performed in festivals such as the Winds of Zenadth cultural festival (WoZcf23) on Thursday Island, Melanesian Arts & Cultural festival (MACfest23) in Vanuatu, Cook Islands, National Art Gallery of Singapore and Art Gallery of NSW. They have since been booked for a few performance in 2024.

A documentary featuring Alick and HSH Prince Albert II discussing climate change was released in 2020, shedding light on their efforts to care for the environment. This is currently streaming on Stan. 

Despite his significant contributions towards caring for country, preservation of language and culture, Alick’s family feels that he is not given the recognition he deserves as a cultural leader and ambassador. 

Alick is a very spiritual person and acknowledges that his task as a cultural leader in this life is to continue to collect firwood and placing them in the fire lit by his ancestor and to keep that home cultural fire burning for the next generation of Zenadh Kes Islanders.

Alick believes that, if one wishes to learn their traditional cultural language and is not in a language speaking environment, then one must turn to songs and dance. This will allow them to embrace their culture proper strong especially in the midst of the unknown technology world ahead. 

He continues to education the young people to firstly understand their identity by knowing their Totems, Stars, and Winds. From these three elements, they will be more Loud and Proud as a first nation culture. 

This is the world of Koey Zugub - Alick Tipoti.

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