We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.





Timothy Cook


08 Sep 1958 –

Language group: Tiwi, North region

Artist profile

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Melville Island Northern Territory Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    natural pigments on linen
    87.0 x 63.0 cm stretcher
    Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund for Contemporary Aboriginal Art 2003
    North Building, ground level, Yiribana Gallery
    Accession number
    © Timothy Cook/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Timothy Cook

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Timothy Cook is an artist from Melville Island, Northern Territory, who paints through the Jilamara Arts and Crafts Centre.

    Inspired by Tiwi ceremonial body painting, in 'Untitled' 2002 Cook has painted alternating horizontal lines of red, white and yellow ochre across the canvas, giving the work its cadence and rhythm. Employing natural ochres against a white ground, in the style championed by the late Kutuwalumi Purawarrumpatu, also known as Kitty Kantilla, Cook has established his place as one of the leading artists of his generation. Cook, like Purawarrumpatu, draws on the distinctive traditions of his ancestors to create contemporary paintings that symbolise the dynamism of Tiwi cultural life and generational continuum of tradition through individual innovation.

    Cook refers to the body paint designs used in the Pukumani ceremony, the traditional Tiwi funeral ceremony, one of the cornerstones of Tiwi belief. His art is also closely linked to stories of Purrukuparli, the Tiwi ancestor whose cultural legacy is revealed in the geometric patterns, common in all Tiwi art, which often depict sites of stories of ancestral significance. Each Tiwi artist has their own individual interpretation of the designs.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Melville Island

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

Other works by Timothy Cook