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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Title

Male figure in ceremonial array

circa 1960s


Artist

Illortaminni Mick Aruni

Australia

circa 1917 - 1973

Language group

Tiwi, North region


About

A male is depicted ready to take part in a Kulama ceremony. He is wearing a white cockatoo feather headpiece, armbands of jungle cane, an artificial (goose feather) beard and a goose feather neck ball.

The painted facial and body designs are typical of Tiwi painted design, as applied also to the unique carved and painted grave poles and bark baskets.
The calico loincloth is a post-European contact phenomenon. Formerly, Tiwi males wore no loin covering in their everyday life.

The figure has been carved from bloodwood – a dense hardwood typically employed for the mortuary poles; it is from the latter that carved human figures have evolved. The ears and nose have been set in native beeswax.

Harry Messel


Details


Place where the work was made

Melville Island Northern Territory Australia


Cultural origin

Tiwi Islands


Date

circa 1960s


Media category

Sculpture


Materials used

carved and painted blackwood, wax, feathers, cane, natural pigments


Dimensions

91.0 x 15.0 cm


Credit

Gift of Harry Messel 1990


Accession number

130.1990


Artist information

Illortaminni Mick Aruni

Works in the collection

2


Place

Where the work was made
Melville Island

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Hetti Perkins and Ken Watson, A material thing - objects from the collection, Sydney, 1999, 6.

Margie West, One sun one moon: Aboriginal art in Australia, ‘It belongs to no one else: The dynamic art of the Tiwi’, pg. 125-131, Sydney, 2007, 124 (colour illus.).