Munupi Arts, NT Cat No. 14-211
Art Mob, Tas Cat No. 06092
Cornelia Tipuamantumirri was born on Melville Island in 1930, at the juncture of the Arafura and Timor Seas and is now one of Melville Island's most revered elders. A gifted traditional weaver, she has full knowledge of Tiwi ceremony, body painting and feather and fibre regalia, as well as song and dance.
She paints designs from her Tiwi culture using patterning from older ceremonial art and bark paintings, or carved Pukumani poles. Jilamara is the brightly coloured ochre patterns painted on the body for the Pukumani ceremony, in which participants’ bodies are covered in designs and sacred markings related to kin to disguise them from the spirits of the dead. These highly individuated forms drawn from a shared understanding of geometric motifs are also translated onto monumental carved tutini (burial poles) that are placed around gravesites.
Cornelia's stately presence at Munupi Arts is redolent of bygone Tiwi elders. She stands silently, smoking a crab claw pipe and painting slowly and confidently with a pwoja, a traditional painting comb. This implement, a flat carved stick with multiple prongs, is used to simultaneously paint rows of dots in ochre or paint. Like some of the great Tiwi artists of previous decades, her skill and aesthetic confidence are employed to represent particular Tiwi designs representing the skin of the crocodile, or the phosphorescent trail of Jarrikalani, the turtle moving through the dark sea.Share