TIWI | 153 works from the NGV collection

The original inhabitants of Melville and Bathurst Islands (located 80km north of Darwin), the Tiwi people are renowned for their extraordinary artistic and cultural practices, which are distinct from those of First Nations people of mainland Australia. From 13 November to 8 March 2021 the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) will stage ‘TIWI’, the largest presentation of Tiwi art ever exhibited – showcasing almost 300 works, dating from 1911 to present day, by over 70 artists.

Pius Tipunguti (Tiwi born 1954), Timothy Cook (Tiwi born 1958), Kenny Brown (Tiwi born 1961), Patrick Freddy Puruntatameri (Tiwi born 1973), Pedro Wonaeamirri (Tiwi born 1974), Raelene Kerinauia Lampuwatu (Tiwi born 1962), and Leon Puruntatameri (Tiwi born 1949), Pukumani tutini 2002–09 (installation view), earth pigments on Ironwood (Erythrophleum chlorostachys) dimensions variable. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. © The artists / Licensed by Copyright Agency, Australia

This primary display of the NGV’s comprehensive collection of Tiwi art coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Tiwi Design art centre. Highlights include the forest of ironwood pukumani tutini (poles), ochre paintings on bark, canvas and paper created by senior artists including Jean Baptiste Apuatimi, Nancy Henry and Kutuwulumi Kitty Kantilla, and layered canvases painted with a pwoja (comb) by young Tiwi leader Pedro Wonaeamirri and elder Cornelia Tipuamantumirri.

Pedro Wonaeamirri (Tiwi born 1974), Tunga, 2008, earth pigments on Stringybark (Eucalyptus sp.) and fibre string, 88 x 66.5 x 40.5cm. Purchased, NGV Supporters of Indigenous Art, 2009. © Pedro Wonaeamirri / Licensed by Copyright Agency, Australia. Courtesy the artist and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne