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





Jean Baptiste Apuatimi


24 Jun 1940 – 20 Feb 2013

Language group: Tiwi, North region

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Darwin Northern Territory Australia
    Cultural origin
    Nguiu (Wurrumiyanga)
    Media category
    Materials used
    etching and aquatint on white Arches paper
    98.3 x 49.5 cm platemark; 120.0 x 70.0 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r. beneath platemark, pencil "Jean Baptiste". Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Art Collection Benefactors 2013
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Jean Baptiste Apuatimi/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Jean Baptiste Apuatimi

    Works in the collection


    Artist information
    J.F. Gribbin

    Works in the collection


    Artist information
    K.A.B. Kennedy

    Works in the collection


  • About

    "I love my painting. I love doing it. My husband, Declan Apuatimi, taught me to paint. The designs are ones he taught me - he said, 'One day you will be an artist - you will take my place.' Now I am doing that. Painting makes me alive".

    The specific geometric designs that are the hallmark of Tiwi are art known as mulypinyini pwanga (lines and dots) and these form a common basis for many of the abstract designs found in the work of Tiwi artists including Jean Baptiste Apuatimi. Apuatimi began painting in the mid 1980s following the death of her husband Declan Apuatimi, himself a distinguished artist. During the start of her career she painted alongside Kutuwalumi Purrawarrumpatu (Kitty Kantilla) and similarities may be drawn between the refined minimalism that dominates both artists’ works.

    The majority of Apuatimi's career was spent working through Tiwi Design at Nguiu on Bathurst Island, working with both natural pigments on canvas and etchings on paper. Her works are distinguished by their unique colouration derived from her experimentation with the mixing of natural red, yellow, white and black ochres to create a wider palette including greens, pinks, purples and blues, colours rarely used by other Tiwi artists.

    This print was made through Northern Editions Printmaking Studio, Darwin. This workshop has a long history of working with Indigenous artists through comprehensive collaborations that enable printmaking to be a viable alternate art form for Indigenous artists. The prints were exhibited at the Northern Editions Gallery in August 2012 and Apuatimi danced before the work to highlight the interconnected nature of dance, ceremony and art within Tiwi life.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Jean Baptiste Apuatimi

Other works by J.F. Gribbin