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Timothy Cook

Kulama - 2016

natural earth pigments on Belgian linen
120 x 120 cm
Estimate Upon Request

MP #323


Jilamara Arts and Crafts, N.T Cat No. 40-16
Cooee Art Gallery, NSW


Cooee Art Gallery at Australian Galleries, April 2016, Australian Galleries Sydney

Cooee Art Gallery 35th Anniversary Exhibition, Oxford Street, Dec 16- Jan 2017

Born 1958 on Melville Island, Timothy Cook began paintings on canvas in the mid 1990s. At the start of his career he was one of a number of Tiwi artists who visited the South Australian Museum in Adelaide to view the bark paintings on canvass collected by anthropologist Charles Mountford during his National Geographic expedition to Melville Island in 1954. The visiting artists were inspired to create contemporary responses and Cook quickly became one of the most radical interpreters of these early Tiwi works.

The traditional Tiwi ceremony of kulama (or yam) is a recurrent subject in Cook’s work, and its circular motif has several echoes in Tiwi culture. This ceremony is a coming-of-age ritual that occurs when the kulama yams are harvested. It is performed in the early dry season around a circular fire-pit when a conspicuous halo appears around the full moon.Elders of both sexes sing and dance for three days welcoming the boys into adulthood. The boy is then renamed with his true man's name. The moon is a potent metaphor for life and death in the Tiwi Islands. It is home to the adulterous Tapara from the Tiwi mortuary narrative of Pukumani, which also features Purukapali, his wife Waiyai, and their baby son Jinani.

Timothy Cook was a finalist in the National Aboriginal Art Awards (NATSIA) on six occasions prior to 2010, and selected as a finalist in numerous other national art prizes before winning the NATSIA in 2012.
He is renowned for paintings on canvass in natural earth pigment characterised by loose, gestural, spacious designs. These are composed with pure instinct and without hesitation.