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Ngarukuruwala Kapi Murrukupuni - We Sing to the Land

16 November - 9 December 2023

Flowing arcs of dot-mark lines portray the world in patterns and rhythms on every canvas. The sun’s glare, the moon’s glow, the black of night, all depicted in ochre, the country’s own pigment lifted from the earth. Such is the art of the Tiwi Islands, north of Darwin — the longest-known and most thoroughly recorded Indigenous creative tradition in Australia.

The works in this exhibition showcase the artists’ individual styles in depicting shared stories. Some artists adhere closely to traditional tools, employing a wooden comb (Pwoja) to apply dots to their canvas or sculpture. Others may use sticks or western paint brushes in their mark-making.

We are the Tiwi. Tiwi is we the people. […] We Tiwi people have to keep our culture alive. The art from long time ago and today - we are still seeing it as Tiwi art. […] The knowledge is when you listen, then look — the knowledge is by words, singing, talking, and also the dance, meanings of dance, and the song that goes with the dance and also art as well. And now I am creating my own art, my own style, totally different. My art is my art”

Pedro Wonaeamirri - in an introductory statement to Tiwi, Art/Histroy/Culture by Jennifer Isaacs


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