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Tiwi Island Footy Final And Art Sale

It’s rare that art and sport meet in such a culturally spectacular fashion as the Tiwi Island Footy Final And Art Sale.

The annual event on Bathurst Island, 70km north of Darwin, has become iconic not only for the incredible athleticism displayed in the Tiwi Island footy grand final, but the unique artwork that can be picked up at bargain prices.

Artist Michelle Woody Minnapinii, from Jilamara Arts and Craft Association, travels from Milikapiti on Melville Island to Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst and says it's a big day but worth the effort.

“We go by road and then we got to catch a ferry across with all of our artwork piled up in the troopy,” she says. 

“We’re really, really, really busy. There’s people coming in all day. It’s really full on and we talk to a lot of people.”

The art sale sees works sold at discounted prices. The majority of the cash goes directly to the artists, and the rest goes back to the art centres, so artists have supplies and a space to work in.

Artist Pedro Wonaeamirri says it was a great opportunity for tourists to meet artists and learn more about Tiwi culture. Wonaeamirri says their culture is unique to the tropical islands and different to many of the cultures on the mainland.


“It’s really important we keep our art and culture as strong and also share it to the younger generation,” he says. 

“The way I learn to become an artist is from watching family and elders who have passed away. It’s really important for the next generation  to understand, to be aware of what Tiwi culture is about.”

Get in quick and check the Sealink Tiwi Island ferry or local airlines to charter a flight to the island.

SUN 18 MAR | 9AM-6PM | BATHURST ISLAND | FREE | | sealinknt.

See the event listing.

Above image: Munupi Arts stall alongside Jilamara Arts, Main Hall Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic School, Tiwi Islands Grand Final & Art Sale, 2017; image courtesy ANKA

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