(Australia circa 1917 – 1973)
91.0 x 15.0 cm
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.
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.).
A material thing - Objects from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 Aug 1998–09 Feb 1999
One sun, one moon, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Jul 2007–02 Dec 2007