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'Tunga (Bag)' 2013-12-11

56 x 76 cm natural ochres on paper


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Tunga’s are made from stringybark bark, which can only be collected during the wet season when the bark is moist and flexible. The bark is cut using a chainsaw, stripped smooth with a knife and cured over a fire before being bent into shape and sewn up with a bush string stripped from the native hibiscus. The tunga is left to dry for a few days before being painted with locally gathered ochres. Tungas were an everyday necessity for Tiwi, used to carry food. When a Tiwi person dies the tunga is placed upturned on the pukumani pole (grave-post) signifying the end of life.


Cat: 492-13