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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Title

Untitled

2001


Artist

Kutuwulumi Purawarrumpatu

Australia

circa 1928 - 04 Oct 2003

Language group

Tiwi, North region


About

The specific geometric designs that are the hallmark of Tiwi art are usually applied to a dark background. In a bold move around 1997 Kutuwulumi reversed this aesthetic and began to produce paintings of delicately painted dots and lines on white. The white background helped give the paintings a light, ethereal quality and marked a strong contrast with her previous works painted on black such as the three works in the Art Gallery of New South Wales collection, acquired in 1995.

The decorative motif mulypinyini amintiya pwanga (lines and dots) forms a common basis for many of the abstract designs that are said to have no specific meaning. The imagery in these paintings, like that of most Tiwi art, is derived from the jilimara or ceremonial body painting and the decoration applied to Pukamani funeral poles and associated ritual objects made for the Pukamani ceremony. Traditionally the participants in funeral ceremonies decorate themselves with a rich variety of ochre designs so as to conceal their true identity from harm by malevolent mapurtiti (spirits of the dead). Thus Tiwi art generally avoids reference to totems, Dreamings, or stories connected with the palaneri or Creation Period.

Kutuwulumi is the oldest and most renowned artist working at Jilimara and is reputedly the only artist to still paint in the old style. She is still dynamically exploring possibilities and innovations in her art.

Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2002


Details


Place where the work was made

Melville Island Northern Territory Australia


Date

2001


Media category

Painting


Materials used

ochres on paper


Dimensions

56.0 x 76.0 cm sheet


Credit

Purchased 2002


Location

Not on display


Accession number

7.2002


Artist information

Kutuwulumi Purawarrumpatu

Artist profile

Works in the collection

26


Place

Where the work was made
Melville Island

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history