Last week in Hobart we caught the opening night of Natalie Puantulura’s first solo show entitled Puwangari (‘Lots of Dots’) at Art Mob – Aboriginal Fine Art .
Natalie was taught to paint by her grandfather, Declan Apuatimi (Senior) the late husband of renowned Tiwi artist Jean Baptiste. As Jean’s grandaughter, Natalie was also taught about Tiwi culture and painting by her grandmother.
Natalie painted with Tiwi Design art centre up until 2004, after which she and her partner, Edward Malati Yunupingu, moved to Pirlangimpi and began working with Munupi Arts and Crafts.
Natalie’s paintings tell the ‘Pwoja Story’:
“During ceremony on the Tiwi Islands a series of ‘yoi’ (dances), are performed; some are totemic (inherited from the person’s Mother) and some serve to act out the narrative of newly composed songs. Participants in these ceremonies are painted with turtiyanginari (the different natural ochre colours) in varying designs, transforming the dancers and, in some cases, providing protection.”
The word ‘Jilamara’ is the Tiwi term for the natural ochre design applied to the body face of participants during important ceremonies.
[Image courtesy Art Mob and the artist].