Tiwi Islands and Art

The Tiwi Islands are located 100km north of Darwin. The Dundas strait separates Melville and Bathurst Island from Mainland Australia. Melville Island is Australia's largest island after Tasmania. On the Tiwi Islands the art of body painting for ceremony has been practiced for thousands of years. The decorative patterning of the Tiwi was also used on Pukumani poles (mortuary poles) and tungas (bark baskets). The traditional form of mark making was derived from the creation story. The continuous patterning used is primarily decorative with the emphasis on strength of design rather than narrative. The artform is a living evolving expression of Tiwi culture. Within Tiwi art the placement of line and dot is distinctive. Today these decorative forms have been applied to many different medium. These include painting, carving, textiles, print making, pottery, pandanus weaving and jewellery making. There are three major art centres located on the Tiwi Islands. Two on Melville Island, Munupi and Jilamara, and one on Bathurst Island, Tiwi Design.

Tiwi Islands and Art