Jilamara Arts and Crafts, N.T
Private Collection, NSW
Cooee Art Gallery, NSW
Tiwi art is inextricably linked to Tiwi creation stories and is often characterised by an abstract mixture of lines, dots, and form, originating from the decorative body paint used by the Tiwi during ceremonies. This contemporary work rarely has a narrative story associated with it, however, sculptural work often portrays key characters from the creation stories. Pedro Wonaeamirri, current vice president of Jilamara, describes Tiwi art like this: ‘it is about Tiwi life and Tiwi culture, Purukuparli first started up the Tiwi culture by singing and dancing, this was at the beginning of Tiwi art and life, east of Melville Island’.
All the artists of Jilmara have unique and individual styles, some adhering very closely to Tiwi traditions by employing a wooden comb or coconut stick to apply dots to their canvas or sculpture, while others use contemporary western brushes to make their individual marks. Transcending all these individual styles are characteristics which are unique to the Tiwi artists from Jilamara on Melville Island.Share