An image of Untitled

Kutuwulumi Purawarrumpatu

(Australia circa 1928 – 04 Oct 2003)

Community
Milikapiti, North region, Melville Island, North region
Language group
Tiwi, North region

Untitled

Location
Yiribana Gallery
Further information

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

Place of origin
Melville Island, Northern Territory, Australia
Year
2001
Media
Painting
Medium
natural organic pigments on linen canvas
Dimensions
115.8 x 77.6 cm stretcher
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Purchased 2002
Accession number
5.2002
Copyright
© Kutuwulumi Purawarrumpatu, Jilamara Arts and Crafts. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney,