Artist Profile

Tiwi
Artists

Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands

Pedro Wonaeamirri Jilamara ochres on paper 56 x 76cm $3500 f

Artist Profile

Tiwi
Artists

Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands

Established in 1989, Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association is owned and governed by artists from the community of Milikapiti on the Tiwi Islands. Comprised of two main islands Bathurst and Melville, the Tiwis are north of Darwin and have been home to Tiwi people since parlingarri (creation time). The Milikapiti community is on Wulirankuwu Country on the north coast of Melville Island overlooking the Arafura Sea. It is a small community that celebrates family, culture and art-making.

The term Jilamara describes “design” based on ceremonial ochre markings on the body. Reimagining these styles at the art centre has fostered a dynamic creative field for maintaining Tiwi knowledge, as well as sharing and celebrating contemporary living culture. These performative foundations have directed the organisation’s course for decades, from its origins in translating jilamara design to screen-printed garments as an adult education centre in the 1980s to producing major exhibition outcomes as an indigenous governed art centre in more recent decades.

“From body it moved onto bark and then canvas, silk, printing and now we are moving into digital. Culture is evolving with time.” – Colin Heenan-Puruntatameri, 2019

Through workshops, training and representation Jilamara members of diverse abilities are supported to build careers as internationally renowned artists. In the community, the art centre is also an important place for local school children to learn through culture classes and for many generations of Tiwi people to build bright futures.

Recent significant public outcomes for contemporary Jilamara artists include participation in the 2022 Sydney Contemporary and Melbourne Art Fairs, UNLEARNING AUSTRALIA at SeMA Seoul South Korea, NIRIN: the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, and a significant contribution to TIWI an exhibition and publication by NGV Australia in 2021.

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, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of South Australia, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Arty Gallery of Western Australia, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Newcastle, Commonwealth Institute (UK), Gantner Myer Collection (Aus), Wesfarmers Collection (Aus), Artbank (Aus), Gordon & Marilyn Darling Collection (Aus), Levi-Kaplan Collection (USA), The British Museum (UK), Utrecht Aboriginal Art Museum (NL), Musée du quai Branly (Fr), The Fowler Museum, UCLA (USA), The Israel Museum (Il), Kulge-Ruhe (USA) and Fondation Opale (Sw).

Artwork