Ngirramini, Yimunga, Murrakupupuni (Story, Tribe, Country)
Michelle Woody Minnapinni
Patrick Freddy Puruntatameri
Join us on Instagram Live for Michelle Woody Minnapinni in conversation with curator of ‘Ngirramini, Yimunga, Murrakupupuni (Story, Tribe, Country)’, Hannah Raisin, on Thursday 8th July from 4pm.
Ngirramini, Yimunga, Murrakupupuni (Story, Tribe, Country) brings together the work of six of the Tiwi islands most dynamic emerging and senior artists in an exhibition of new work at MARS Gallery, Melbourne. Across three spaces the works in the exhibition reflect the underpinnings of Tiwi culture, art and life. Ngirramini, Yimunga, Murrakupupuni can translate as ‘Story, Tribe and Country’ but as Pedro Wonaeamirri describes these concepts are all inherently interlinked and connected.
‘One word in Tiwi language, it can also mean many things. For instance Yimunga means what’s your tribe it also what time is it, also heart and pulse and it is the sun. Murrakupupuni is the land also Country. Ngirramini means song, also story and also it can mean causing trouble. Ngirramini, Yimunga, Murrakupupuni these are really important to us all Tiwi people. These are all how we connect. You connect to the songs, your dance and the stories, you connect to your country through your father and grandfathers blood and you connect to you tribe because of your mother.’
Pedro Wonaeamirri 2021
About Jilamara Arts
Established as an adult education centre in the 1980s, Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association was incorporated as an indigenous governed art centre in 1989. For over 30 years the artists working at Jilamara have been translating the patterns, imagery and stories of “jilamara” (body paint designs) into ochre paintings on bark, canvas, linen, paper, ironwood carvings and print. Still using natural white, yellow and red ochres exclusively sourced on country, Jilamara artists are nationally and internationally renowned for their unique, Tiwi style and colour palette. They produce contemporary works based on ceremonial body painting designs, clan totems and Tiwi creation stories.
Artwork by Jilamara artists are held in major collections around the world including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW, Levi-Kaplan Collection (USA), The British Museum (UK) and Musée du quai Branly (Fr).
The Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association were central to the NGV blockbuster exhibition, TIWI, held at the end of 2020.
Chris Black was born at Milikapiti Community, where he has spent the majority of his life. He is part of a large clan, consisting of three main families – the Bush, Black and Brown family names make up the majority of the Miartuwee Clan. Also known as ‘Kojak’, he creates colourful compositions of jilamara (Tiwi body paint designs), various types of fish found around Melville Island and the Jarrangini (Buffalo).
Timothy Cook expresses himself through his loose and gestural designs. Timothy paints exclusively with natural ochre and his artworks are highly sort after by major collections both nationally and internationally. Timothy won the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Art Award in 2012 and has been shortlisted for many others including the Hadley Art Award in 2019.
Michelle Woody Minnapinni is a strong Tiwi culture woman and artist whose distinct painting style is becoming increasingly recognised on a national level. She has shown in a range of exhibition formats both nationally and internationally, including coming runner up for the 2018 Summer Salon at Collins Place Gallery in Melbourne and the Rising Stars exhibition at Oustation in Darwin. She often uses the distinct Tiwi pwoja (ironwood comb) to paint depictions of Ngiya Murakupuni (My Country), winga (saltwater) and jlamara (Tiwi body paint design).
Janice Murray lives in Milikapiti, Melville Island, and has been an exhibiting member of Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association since 1995. Janice is widely regarded for her paintings, printmaking and carving, having received many professional accolades during her significant career. She has worked for decades with the Australian Print Workshop in Melbourne on various projects and residencies and is well known for her incredible edition prints. She has also received public commissions and two iterations of her aluminum birds are installed at the Darwin waterfront and in Sydney.
Patrick Freddy Puruntatameri began painting with Jilamara Arts and Craft when he left school at 17. He has been part of the organisation as it has developed into a prominent arts organisation since the late 1980s. He said he always wanted to be an artist, learning from his father Paddy Freddy Puruntatameri, a highly respected and renowned carver. His works are held in many major collections Australia wide including the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) and the Queensland Art Gallery (Brisbane).
Columbiere Tipungwuti is a personality on the Tiwi Islands who is hard to miss.
His artwork draws on parlingarri (old/creation time) stories, Tiwi ceremonies and jilamara (body paint design). He is becoming most well-known for his representations of Japarra (the Moonman) an ancestral figure in the Tiwi creation story that indirectly brings about mortality to the Tiwi people by sleeping with his brother’s wife Wai-ai.
Pius Tipungwuti has a long history working as an artist at Jilamara Arts and Crafts. He remains a strong leader in governance being an early influence in the development of the art centre and has held the positions of President, Public Officer and Treasurer. His tutini (pukumani poles) can be found around the world from the Muluwurri Museum in Milikapiti, to the Darwin Airport, Singapore’s Botanical Gardens and as far away as Amsterdam where he travelled to complete a commission in the late 2000s. Pius managed Milikapiti’s men’s centre for some years, combining his creative skills with directional and motivational work for young men. He has also held the chair of the Milikapiti Regional Council on multiple occasions. His skills as a carver are highly regarded and his work is included in major collections around the world.