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Timothy Cook

Untitled (Tutini and Tunga) - 2007

Natural Earth Pigments on Carved Wood
260.0 x 15.0 x 15 cm
Estimate Upon Request

MP #164


Jilamara Arts and Crafts, NT Cat. No. TC-102-07
The Harding Family Collection, NSW


Noosa Long Weekend Arts Festival 2008, Qld

The Pukumani ceremony is held on the land of the deceased to ensure the spirit of the deceased returns to its country and continues its journey to another life.


In an integral part of the ceremony, huge solid hardwood poles (tutini) are assembled around the ceremonial site as monuments to the deceased… At the end of the ceremony, tunga, stitched bark baskets, are placed over the top of the tutini – an act akin to candle stoppers snuffing out the light of life.

The tutini and tunga are left in place at the end of the ceremony. Eventually burnt by bushfire, eaten by termites and eroded by water and wind, these monuments, the last earthly physical reminder of the deceased, are reclaimed by the country, together with their wandering spirit.

No other living artist can match Cook’s ability to animate these massive ironwood and bloodwood poles and folded stringybark buckets into seemingly spirited forms. The very act of paintings his bold, gestural marks on these massive sculpted forms gives Cook’s tutini a sense of movement. They are completely transformed as darkness envelopes the ceremonial participants and they seemingly come to life, themselves central ceremonial figures, guiding the spirits of the deceased into their spirit world.*

*Bruce McLean, ‘Everything Returns to Place’ in Seva Frangos et al., Timothy Cook: Dancing with the Moon, UWA Publishing, Crawley, 2015, p.67