'Yirrinkiripwoja (body paint design)' 2022-06-16
45 x 45cm, locally sourced ochre on canvas
Tiwi Culture places special significance on the Pukumani (funeral) ceremony. Mourners are decorated using natural ochres to disguise themselves from the spirit of the deceased and song and dance is performed to honour the dead. Yirrinkiripwoja (bodypaint) is the source of many contemporary Tiwi designs and performance of the pukumani as ritual helps to reinvigorate the imagery. The shortening of the word to Pwoja – also refers to the toothed ironwood comb used to apply the pwanga (dots) and is also used in Tiwi language to describe bones or even loose change.