Gubaka is a word the artist has created to describe a ceremony performed by women to ‘call the wind’. The name relates to the branches that come from a tree called Gabau that has long straw like fronds.The ceremony takes place when the women’s menfolk have been away at sea for several days hunting and conducting their own ceremonial responsibilities. During these journeys the men would sleep over on one of the thousands of the small uninhibited islands that are scattered throughout the Torres Strait.
‘Calling the wind’ serves two purposes. One is to alert the men that they are being missed by their loved ones and the other is to create the right sailing conditions to enable them to make a rapid journey home. The women would carefully prepare themselves for the ritual then sit in the water up to their waists and beat the water with the Gabu branches. The women have adorned their heads with Matana and Takarr which are plants often used in ceremonies because they give off a pleasant odour which is pleasing to the spirits.
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