Tiwi Design is an Indigenous owned and operated art centre located on Bathurst Island in the Tiwi Islands, north of Darwin, Northern Territory. It is the agent for the artists featured in this collection. The Tiwi Islands are made up of Bathurst and Melville Islands (and a number of smaller uninhabited islands) and are surrounded by the azure waters of the Arafura Sea. The Tiwi people are culturally and linguistically distinct from their near neighbours in Arnhem Land, and this is also true of their artistic traditions. 

Art centres are central to art production in remote Indigenous communities across Australia. They are also vital to social, cultural and economic wellbeing, with art sales providing the only source of income for many communities.

An agreement with Tiwi Design ensures the artists represented are fairly remunerated for the use of their designs. Willie Weston would like to acknowledge the support of Tiwi Design who have shown great faith in the development of this collection.

Jean Baptiste Apuatimi's Jilamara design in 'Eucalypt [wall] and 'Inlet' [floor, left] and Osmond Kantilla's Pandanus design in 'Paperbark' [floor / wall].

Jean Baptiste Apuatimi's Jilamara design in 'Eucalypt [wall] and 'Inlet' [floor, left] and Osmond Kantilla's Pandanus design in 'Paperbark' [floor / wall].

TIWI COLLECTION ARTISTS

J E A N   B A P T I S T E   A P U A T I M I

Jean Baptiste Apuatimi (1940-2013) is internationally acclaimed as a painter, carver and printmaker. She was born at Pirlangimpi, Melville Island, NT, into the Japijapunga (March Fly) skin group. In 1991 she participated in her first exhibition Jilamara Milikapiti at Alcaston Gallery in Melbourne; the next year the National Gallery of Victoria acquired eight of her bark paintings. Apuatimi exhibited widely and earned significant recognition as both an artist and a custodian of Tiwi culture. Her work is held in public and private collections around the world, including the British Museum (UK), the Seattle Art Museum (USA) and the National Museum of Women in the Arts (USA).

Apuatimi's design is called Jilamara, a Tiwi word that refers to the ochre patterning traditionally painted on the bodies of dancers and on carved poles during Pukumani ceremonies. Jilamara is unique to the art and culture of Tiwi Islanders.

O S M O N D   K A N T I L L A

Osmond Kantilla (b.1966) is a master screen printer. His country is Wurruranku and his skin group is Marntimapila (Stone). Kantilla has been selected for group exhibitions across Australia and internationally, such as In the World: head, hand, heart, 17th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennale (toured nationally 2006-08), Freestyle: New Australian Design for Living, Museum of Victoria and Object Gallery, 2006-07 (toured to the Triennale di Milano, 2008) and in the 19th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2002. His work is held in numerous public collections, including the National Museum of Australia, the Powerhouse Museum and the Art Gallery of South Australia. 

Kantilla's design, Pandanus, represents the leaves of the pandanus plant. Kantilla created this design in memory of his father. Pandanus is his father’s clan group. Kantilla’s family follow the steps of the Pandanus clan when they dance for ceremony.