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

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Timothy Cook Kulama

natural ochres, binder, gesso primer on linen

150 x 200 cm

During his extensive career, Timothy Cook has focused on representing the kulama ceremony, an initiation for young Tiwi people that coincides with the harvest of wild yam in the late wet season when a ring appears around japarra (the moon). The circles in his work symbolise the moon, yam, the ritual circles of the ceremony, and the pwanga (dots) echo the japalinga (stars).

Cook paints exclusively with natural red, white and yellow ochres sourced from Country around Melville Island off the Northern Territory coast, creating a rich cultural and material representation of the Tiwi landscape.

‘I will take a painting to heaven so my mother will recognise me.’ – Timothy Cook, 2020