Thaiday was born in 1950 at Erub (Darnley Island), a small island located in the eastern island group of the Torres Strait. He had a traditional upbringing and was highly influenced by his father, Tat Thaiday, who was a greatly respected community elder and composer of songs. In the early 1980s, Ken Thaiday Snr worked in the mining industry in Western Australia, where he gained experience working with different types of machinery. In 1987 he co-founded the Darnley Island Dance Troupe in Cairns, Queensland.
Quotation: Ken Thaiday Snr, quoted in Ken Thaiday Snr: The sea, the feather and the dance machine, Video documentary, Creative Cowboy Films, 71 minutes, 2011.
We have a lot of different materials. I’ve started a new way to do it … I’m a man to make things alive and moving.
Ken Thaiday Snr