Visual Art


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Presented by Munupi Arts and Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association

This exhibition brings together Tiwi Island artists from Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association and Munupi Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Association, both remote Tiwi owned and governed art centres located on Melville Island. Internationally renowned for their authentic, contemporary Tiwi artwork the artists create work based on jilamara (body painting design), clan totems and Tiwi creation stories.

The art of the Tiwi people has a unique aesthetic that draws from their ancient ceremonial traditions and the associated intricate and expressive designs painted with local natural ochres. These pigments applied to the bodies and to salient ceremonial carvings during ritualistic performances are important aspects of these ceremonies that incorporate highly elaborate dances and underpin the development of contemporary Tiwi art. Each artist uses their own inspiration and style to create, with the limitations of these natural hues, a vast array of pulsating visual forms. Starting with the four natural pigments of yellow, red, white and black, then mixing them together to enlarge their palettes, the Tiwi artists create a surprising diversity of highly dynamic visual elaborations as they skilfully merge contemporary personal ideas with ancient meaningful symbology.

Showcasing the profusion and vibrancy of Tiwi artists across several generations, this annual Tiwi exhibition is a highlight of the Darwin cultural calendar and offers some of the best new work by emerging and senior Tiwi artists, as well as a chance to meet them and experience Yoi (dance) at the opening celebration on Friday 11 August.

  • Main Image Timothy Cook working in the Jilamara studios. Image courtesy the artist and Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association

    Photo Will Heathcote

    Additional Image Jacqueline Puruntatameri, Pupuni Jilamara, 2023

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