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Painted Bust attributed to Aboriginal Tiwi artist  Kitty Kantilla (Kutuwalumi Purawarrumpatu) 


An Artist’s Collection VOL.1
Melville Island, Australia 
12” x 7″ x 7″  
ex Private Oregon collection 
ex Tad Dale Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico 
Additional photos available upon request
Tiwi creativity is expressed through random combinations of turtiyanginari (colour), patterns of marlipinyini (lines), kurluwukari (circles) and pwanga (dots). late 1950’s saw some of these skilled traditional carvers starting to carve small mini  replicas of the burial poles and the other figurative beings as artworks for sale to island visitors. Kitty Kantilla was one of Australia’s most highly regarded contemporary artists .  A departure from her exquisite paintings and prints, these figures are carved in ironwood, a material readily found on Bathurst and Melville islands and used extensively for wooden sculptures that have their beginnings in the famous tutini or Pukumani grave posts of the area.  The Tiwi, the original inhabitants of Melville and Bathurst Islands for at least 10,000 years,  are known for their extraordinary art and cultural practices, distinct from those of mainland Aboriginal people. Located 80 km north of Darwin, the Tiwi Islands are unique, in part due to their geographical position, but also language, customary ceremonies, material culture, and kinship system, all of which have a profound influence on Tiwi art.  See Penn Museum Carved Head collection no. 55-17-11


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