Welcome to Tiwi Design...
Tiwi Design is one of the oldest and most artistically diverse art centres in Australia.
The art centre produces ochre paintings on canvas and bark, ironwood carvings, screen printed fabrics, ceramics, bronze and glass sculptures as well as limited edition prints.
The aim of the corporation is to promote, preserve and enrich Tiwi culture.
Tiwi Design is located at Nguiu on the south eastern corner of Bathurst Island. Nguiu has a population of approximately 1500. Bathurst Island has a land area of 2,200 square kilometres and is 80 kilometres north of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Australia.
Nguiu has an airport with regular daily flights and a barge delivery service docking at the landing once a week. A community boat takes passengers on a 5 minute trip across the Apsley Strait to Melville Island. The Apsley Strait averages 1.5 kilometres in width.
The Tiwi Design art complex is situated up from Tingata (the beach) on Apsley Strait. It comprises of a carver's shelter, pottery studio, screen printing studio, painting studio plus an administrative centre and retail gallery.
Tiwi Design started from a small room underneath the Catholic Presbytery on Bathurst Island in 1968. Two young men, Bede Tungatalum and Giovanni Tipungwuti worked with the art teacher from the school, Madeline Clear, to produce wood block prints. This art form was introduced because of the natural link with traditional wood carving techniques.
By 1969 the artists started to transfer their designs onto silk screens. Printing textiles quickly became a major activity for the Tiwi Design artists. In 1970, a set of six linen place mats were awarded the Industrial Design Council of Australia's Good Design Award.
OLD STYLE CARVINGS
In that same year, Bede Tungatalum and Giovanni Tipungwuti formed a partnership and Madeline Clear began to work full-time as Tiwi Design Art Adviser. Madeline promoted Tiwi Design on a television program Today Tonight and enquiries started to come in from far and wide.
By 1976, Tiwi Design had moved into the large new premises and started work on a wide range of art and craft. The partnership changed to an association in 1980 with the aim being to promote, preserve and enrich Tiwi culture.
Today the organisation is still operating with this aim in mind. There are approximately 100 artists working with Tiwi Design to create painting, wood sculptures, textiles, ceramics, pandanus weaving and printmaking.
Tiwi Design has become an intrinsic part of the Aboriginal art and craft industry in Australia. The organisation continues to support traditional and contemporary art practice, working with highly skilled artists to express their culture.
Tiwi Design has been printing textiles since the early 1980's. The purpose built textile printing workshop is run by Osmond Kantilla, a master printer with over 20 years practical experience of printing textiles at Tiwi Design along with his assistant Alan Kerinauia.
Tiwi Design currently has three 13 metre long tables which are used to hand silkscreen print the textiles, t-shirts and t-towels. We have a commercial oven in which to cook the fabric and set the water based inks.
Tiwi Design produces approximately 500 metres of fabric a week during the dry season and gives daily demonstrations of the screen printing process to visiting tourists.
Artist: Jean Baptiste Apuatimi
All my paintings are ceremony, same like this one. We tiwi paint our bodies with ochre for ceremony. This is our body painting design. This is olden days painting. Long ago in the early days we put Yalinga (red ochre), Arrikininga (yellow ochre) and tutuyangini (white ochre) on our face and body for Pukumani (fineral) and Kulama (Yam) ceremonies. The bars going across are the Jilamara (body painting) we put across our stomach and chest. Sometimes we still do this. My husband taught me this style, he used to tell me story about that painting.