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Pupuni Jilamara Nginingwula (Our Beautiful Paintings)

TIWI ISLAND ART CENTRES Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association, Munupi Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Association, and Ngaruwanajirri Incorporated have joined forces to present Pupuni Jilamara Nginingwula (Our Beautiful Paintings).

This exhibition of recent and classic Tiwi paintings and carvings reflects the big themes in the life of man reflected through the unique lens of the Tiwi world view. 

In the beginning of mortal man, at the close of the creation period, the first Pukamani burial ceremony was given. Tokampini (bird) was present at this first ceremony. He gave the paint and feathers for the funeral rings, known as Pamajini, and instructed clan leaders on how to proceed. Man and bird worked together to fell, carve and paint grave poles to remind the Tiwi of how death had come to the people, and how man only lives forever in the spirit land.

Large concentric circles often appear as the main element of contemporary Tiwi paintings, representing the Kulama circle or ceremonial dancing ground. They are icons of Tiwi spiritual belief. Their performances express the wishes and desires of the participants for a healthy and prosperous future, reflecting on the past and being thankful for the present.

Over one hundred works will be on display, including large-scale ironwood carvings, ochre paintings on bark, paper and canvas. 

The colour palette is limited to yellow, red, white and black ochre, reflecting the tradition of natural and found pigments. These are the naturally occurring raw materials, with heat applied to yellow ochre to burn or “cook” becoming reds.

Head along to the opening event for light refreshments and a yoi – an energetic Tiwi celebration of song and dance by the artists, painters, dancers and songmen.

Fri 9 – Thu 15 Aug, Opening 10.30am, Fri 9 Aug | Double Tree By Hilton Hotel, Esplanade Darwin | darwinfestival.org.au 

Thumbnail image and header: Dino Wilson, natural ochres acrylic binders, 2019

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