Gerry Mungatopi is a traditional owner for Muluwurrapi, the country on which Milikapiti sits. He grew up in the community here with his father’s family but is also tied to a strong family on Bathurst Island through his mother’s side. He attended the local Milikapiti Primary School and completed his education at Kormilda College in Darwin
Like many Tiwi’s, he is a talented AFL player and has played for three local teams, Pumorelli, Tuyu and Muluwurri Magpies. As he gets older, he has started to focus less on playing football and more on creating art, celebrating his strong Tiwi culture and taking on governance roles at the Tiwi Land Council and on the Executive Committee of Jilamara Arts and Crafts. Gerry started working at Jilamara in late 2012 under the suggestion of his friend Lance Tungutalum – a long time member of the organisation. His grandfather Brendan Mungatopi was also a senior carver and as a young child in 80s and 90s Gerry remembers watching him make ironwood tutini poles.
Gerry comes from a long line of great artists on his mother’s side. Alan and Cyril Kerinauia who work at Tiwi Design on Bathurst Island and Raelene and Dymphna Kerinauia who have worked at Jilamara Arts on Melville Island for many years. Gerry mainly works in the carving workshop and has recently been part of some major national outcomes including the major exhibition Paralika Tutini Jilamara at AGSA for Tarnanthi in Adelaide (2019) and a public commission for the Milikapiti Store (2020).
Gerry enjoys carving these ironwood tutini poles and Tokwampini (Tiwi birds). He is establishing himself as a talented emerging carver at Jilamara – working closely with his mentor Patrick Freddy Puruntatameri and has shown in group exhibitions and commercial galleries around Australia and overseas.