Honorary Doctorate (April 2016)
Kenneth Thaiday was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in April 2016 in recognition of his distinguished achievements as a senior contemporary artist and for his inspiration to his people in reinvigorating cultural identity through art, sculpture, song, dance, and storytelling.
Kenneth Thaiday is a senior contemporary artist acknowledged in Australia and overseas. He is a traditional artist of rare ability who combines ancient knowledge with contemporary technique in a balance between urban and traditional art. His dance machines are considered the most important part of the Queensland Art Gallery’s collection of Torres Strait Island art.
Mr Thaiday has been named ‘the most distinctive artist of the eastern Torres Strait’, and his work is prized by art collectors around the world. USC is honoured to have exhibited his work in our Gallery, and is very fortunate to have one of Mr Thaiday’s most significant sculptures in our art collection. The 'Big Baizam' sculpture – of the hammerhead shark totem – was donated by the Proost DeDeyne family and it graces the foyer of the Buranga Centre.
Most importantly, Mr Thaiday has become an inspirational figure to his people in the re-invigoration of their cultural identity. His art, be it sculpture, song, dance or storytelling, continues to contribute to the strong cultural identity of Torres Strait Islanders. His contemporary art is grounded in tradition and cultural history. And the friendship gained by knowing this wise, but humble man, enriches the lives of our staff, our students and the Sunshine Coast community in many ways.