Let’s Talk…The Arts with Tori Jay Mordey

In this episode of Let’s Talk…the Arts, Rachael Sarra wonders what role artists can play in supporting and sustaining movements for justice. She catches up with Torres Strait Islander/English artist Tori-Jay Mordey.

Tori-Jay is an established illustrator and artist who describes her practice as a “contemporary Indigenous art practice…producing work based around her family and siblings as a way of understanding herself, her appearance, and racial identity.” She often draws in a surrealistic cartoon style to help visually capture the complexities of human emotion: distorting and exaggerating characters in a way that helps express and expose their vulnerabilities while being vibrant and playful. 

In their wide-ranging conversation, Rachael and Tori-Jay talk about the value of art and artists in communicating and visualising the violence of colonisation & the beauty and power of Indigenous resistance and refusal. Reflecting on her own experiences of returning to the Torres Strait Islands as they are inundated by the disastrous consequences of climate change, Tori-Jay and Rachael talk all things grief, identity, and belonging: what it means to use art as a way to remember and honor people and places that are under threat.

From challenging climate colonialism, to working for racial equality, and consistently refusing the too-small box offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in the colony: this week’s episode digs deep into the possibility and promise of art as a tool for Indigenous liberation.