Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that the following pages may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

Tutini -Burial Pole

Tessie Tipungwuti

ochre and acrylic on ironwood

73cm x 15cm x 15cm


Tutini -Burial Pole

A Tiwi myth tells how the first funeral ceremony called pukumani was organized at the time of creation. At that time all things were immortal, until the goddess Wai-ai broke the law, causing the death of her small son Jinani. His father, the god Purukupali, thus created the first pukumani ceremony, to weep over his son, and decreed that from then on anyone who died would follow his son into the world of the spirits. Together with Tokampini, the birdman, Purukupali sculpted the first great painted poles that were planted around the burial place near the sea. In the same way he created the songs, dances and symbols that are painted on the occasion of the pukumani, transmitting all this to his people. The pukumani ceremony assures life after death and permits the deceased to reach the world of the spirits where he will live forever.





Tiwi Designs Aboriginal Corporation

Tiwi Design Aboriginal Corporation was incorporated in 1980 and is one of the longest established Indigenous art centres in Australia. However, the beginnings of Tiwi Design emerged in 1969 when two young men, Bede Tungatalum and Giovanni Tipungwuti began carving into wood blocks and printing onto textiles. These young men became known as the first Indigenous screen-printers in Australia and began a tradition that continues today at Tiwi Design.

‘Bima Figures’ Maria Josette Orsto 2020

More Artworks from Tiwi Designs Aboriginal Corporation

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