One Island One Side. • Yati Ratuwati Yatuwati • Munupi and Jilamara working together • TIWI Island Aboriginal Art
From May 9 to June 2, 2018
Aboriginal Signature Estrangin gallery in Brussels, Belgium
Based on natural pigments affixed to linen canvas, their traditional paintings reflect with striking intimacy the universe of the Tiwi Islands and the graphic sense of their body paintings.
The elders of the communities of Jilamara and Munupi, decided to choose as a particular title for this exhibition: Yati Ratuwati Yatuwati. Which means in their language “Munupi and Jilamara working hand in hand”.
The notion of “design” comes up regularly in the cosmogony of the Tiwi Islands. Far from being a Western marketing and advertising concept, possibly superfluous, intended to accentuate the attractiveness of a product, design is fundamental here in the Tiwi culture.
A DESIGN ERECTED LIKE A BODY IMPRINT
Design is key as an element of differentiation among the inhabitants of the Tiwi Islands. It asserts itself as a “body imprint” affixed to bodies since the dawn of time, particularly during ritual ceremonies and traditional dances. The hatched lines are skillfully combined and underline the belonging to the clan. In a codified and graphic language, this design resonates ancestral myths with a rather unusual sense of abstraction.
DENSITY OF SOCIAL LIFE IN THE TIWI ISLANDS
Unlike the desert where a large part of the time was devoted to the search for water and food, within the Islands a certain opulence reigns and makes it possible to devote a much larger part of the time to social life, culture, and worship. The codified and abstract iconography of the Tiwi Islands asserts itself as a particularly telling vehicle for the density of expression of these people.
This exhibition features two masterful works in natural pigments by world-renowned artists such as Cornelia Tipuamantumirri (1929) by Munupi and Timothy Cook (1958) by Jilamara and a rare selection of over 30 paintings by iconic senior artists and the young guard born in the 1980s. 80.
The artists Tiwi Jilamara and Munupi have designed this exhibition with us, to underline the importance of ensuring the continuity of the Tiwi culture, by involving the younger generations through artistic expression, an essential breeding ground for perpetuating the memory of their people and defending their identity.