An image of Tutini (Pukumani grave posts)

Laurie Nelson Mungatopi

(Australia circa 1923 – )

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

Bob One Apuatimi

(Australia 1925 – 18 Apr 1976)

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

Jack Yarunga

(Australia circa 1910 – 1973)

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

Don Burakmadjua

(Australia 1925 – 1995)

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

Charlie Quiet Kwangdini

(Australia circa 1905 – )

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

Unknown

(Australia  – )

Tutini (Pukumani grave posts)

Location
20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

In 1958 senior Tiwi artists at Milikapiti (Snake Bay) on Melville Island were commissioned by Dr Stuart Scougall and then Gallery deputy director Tony Tuckson to create 17 Tutuni or Pukumani graveposts. The first major commission of Aboriginal work by a gallery of modern art, this group of Tutuni broke new ground, establishing Aboriginal culture within an art context.

Heralding a shift in tradition, the artists made the conscious choice to produce Tutuni for an outside audience. They employed traditional techniques of carving and painting, but made the sculptures from ironwood, rather than the traditional blackwood, which is reserved for ceremonies.

The Pukumani ceremony is unique to Tiwi. It is a 'final goodbye', with singing and dancing accompanying the placement of Tutuni around the gravesite. The first Pukumani ceremony was led by Tiwi ancestor Purukuparli for his baby, Jinani, who was the first person to die; as a result, today all Tiwi must follow his fate.

Place of origin
Melville Island, Northern Territory, Australia
Media
Sculpture
Medium
natural pigments on iron wood
Dimensions
274 x 250.0 x 250 cm overall :
a - Tutini; 198.1 x 24.1 cm
b - Tutini; 243.8 x 28 cm
c - Tutini; 200.6 x 21.6 cm
d - Tutini; 210.8 x 27.9 cm
e - Tutini; 274.2 x 30.5 cm
f - Tutini; 185.4 x 21.6 cm
g - Tutini; 221 x 25.4 cm
h - Tutini; 147.3 x 29.2 cm
i - Tutini; 165.1 x 29.2 cm
j - Tutini; 214.6 x 31.8 cm
k - Tutini; 149.8 x 26.8 cm
l - Tutini; 238.8 x 24.1 cm
m - Tutini; 167.7 x 21.6 cm
n - Tutini; 232.4 x 24.1 cm
o - Tutini; 185.4 x 24.7 cm
p - Tutini; 170.2 x 30.5 cm
q - Tutini; 254 x 33 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Credit
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959
Accession number
IA1.1959.a-q
Copyright
© The Artists' Estates, courtesy Jilamara Arts. Licensed by Copyright Agency