See more Johnathon Bush

'Yoyi (dance)' 2021-05-15

150 x 120cm, natural ochres on linen


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“We are fighting for recognition for our existence in our past and our present and with the future. From the lesson of old to the lesson of new. “Johnathon Bush

Johnathon paints exclusively in natural earth pigments of the Tiwi Islands, in his work he often re-imagines old anthropological images of Tiwi people, Catholic figureheads donning Tiwi body paint design and ceremonial ornaments, as well as various accounts of his family’s historical encounters with colonial forces. 

This work “Yoyi” pictures Tiwi ceremony and the iconic tutini poles commissioned on the islands for the Pukumani ceremony. In the ceremony family dance on sand from the beach amongst a collection of poles created by in laws of a deceased person. At the end of the ceremony the poles are erected at the person’s gravesite and this marks the end of Pukumani – the 12 month mourning period after which it is believe the spirit of the deceased family member is at peace on their Country. 


Cat: 157-21