DETAIL: Mary MARABAMBA Fish trap No 27 #3017-01 2001 jungle vine, bush string Purchased 2002
Kitty KANTILLA (Kutuwalumi PURAWARRUMPATU) | Female figure

Australia 1926 /1930 – Australia 2003
Female figure
Figure with lines of dots on torso and face, brown legs and yellow breast c.1996
natural pigments on iron wood
76.0 (h) x 19.4 (w) x 16.0 (d) cm
Purchased 1996
NGA 1996.865

These spirit figures are made by Tiwi artist, Kitty Kantilla (Kutuwalumi Purawarrumpatu), 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.

As such the formal structures of Female figure and Male figure have great similarities with the Pukumani grave posts fashioned from the same ironwood. Being male and female, these figures possibly represent the two key ancestral heroes for the Tiwi people: Purrukurparli and Bima, who brought the first mortuary ceremonies to the Tiwi.

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