Justin Womikinimirri Puruntatameri

5 AM 9862/13
Justin Womikinimirri Puruntatameri Kurrumpali (Tiwi Campsites) 2012
Ochre on linen
1200 x 800mm including resale royalty

This piece gives us a glimpse into Tiwi life before European settlement. Tiwi people were nomadic and would move camp when fresh water holes would dry up or the hunting in one particular area became less fruitful. In this painting, the triangular designs represent points. These recognisable points (known to all experienced nomadic Tiwi) were used to find which water holes contained fresh water, identify if the hunting was good, and to ascertain if there was enough bush tucker to sustain the group. One man would be given the task of going to these preordained spots. The spotter would climb a tree and look for evidence of bird life. Where he saw birds he knew there would be water close by. He would also carry a stick long enough to check the depth of any newly discovered water holes. He could determine approximately how many days usage they would get from any given waterhole from it's depth and width. He would break the branches of trees along the correct path to the new camp site so everyone knew which way to go. The circles in this work represent these waterholes.

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