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

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting

Gordon Pupangamirri, David Tipuamantumirri, Barry Kantilla, Graham Tipungwuti First death on the Tiwi Islands

ironwood, natural ochres and cockatoo feathers

175.5 x 163.2 x 121.1 cm (overall)

This story goes back to Creation times. The group of four figure carvings tells the story of Purukupali, a great hunter and warrior, his wife Wa-ai, their son Jinani, and Purukupali’s brother Tapara, the Moon man.

Purukupali was off hunting and Wa-ai was approached by Tapara, as he wanted her. Her baby was placed on the ground but the sun moved and Jinani died. Tapara wanted to bring the baby back to life, but Purukupali refused, declaring that now all people must die. At night the eerie wailing of Wa-ai, as a curlew, can be heard.

Jennifer Isaacs for Ngaruwanajirri Inc, 2022