'Warrumiyanga Way' - works on canvas and paper
The Tiwi Islands are located 100km North of Darwin and comprise of Melville Island, Bathurst Island and nine small uninhabited Islands.
Whist the Tiwi Islands are part of the Northern Territory, the Tiwi culture is very unique. It is distinguishable by an emphasis on dance (which is still an essential component of everyday life) and the Pukumani ceremony. As well as a skin name, each person has their own dreaming and dance which they inherit. During ceremony, the body is painted in geometric abstract designs, known as ‘jilamara’.
The art of the Tiwi Islands is clearly distinguishable by their fine and intricate designs (many derived from jilamara designs), which is usually applied with the traditional Tiwi painting comb, known as the ‘pwoja’ or ‘kayimwagakimi’. The artists of the Tiwi Islands have explored a vast array of artistic mediums such as painting, prints, Batiks, wood carvings, shell work, and ceramics. Whilst each artist has their own unique aesthetic, there remains a strong emphasis on design and using natural ochres.
Lillian Kerinaiua - LKE24728 - 45 x 100cms
Tiwi Islander artworks have a special place in Aboriginal art history, associated with the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1958 gallery deputy director Tony Tuckson and Dr Stuart Scougall commissioned 17 Pukumani grave posts for the gallery’s collection. Back then, it was a groundbreaking moment for Aboriginal art, as it shifted Aboriginal visual culture to an art gallery setting, rather than an anthropological piece/specimen housed in a museum.
Estelle Munkanome - ESM60410
Tiwi Island art also has an incredible ‘wow’ factor that is bound to delight viewers. Right now are showing a beautiful selection of works from the Ngaruwanjirri group – a special group which was created to provide employment opportunities for the people of Wurrumiyanga (Nguiu, Bathurst Island) and to support local Tiwi artists with disabilities.
The artists featured in this show include Alfonso Puautjimi, Estelle Munkanome, Lillian Kerinaiua and Lorna Kantilla - each has a unique and very contemporary style, rendered in soft but edgy ochres.
Alphonso Puautjimi's works particularly, are very collectible: quirky but powerful representations of his visit to the city - cars, planes and buildings suddenly became his theme - so overwhelming was this new visual environment. The others range from Lorna Kantilla's soft ephemeral works to Lillian Kerinaiua's simply brilliant compositions of quasi geometrical shapes offset with contrasting areas of dense and varied dotwork.
Unfortunately, this very special art centre closed in late 2012 due to a discontinuation of Government funding – a very unhappy situation indeed, particularly for the artists. Our exhibition is physically located in our 'Charcoal Gallery' on the second level, but also available for viewing on line – web purchases can be made quickly and easily through our secure payment gateway.
We hope you enjoy the artworks as much as we do!