Bernadette Mungatopi

Bernadette Mungatopi

By Crystal Thomas

Bernadette Mungatopi

Renowned artist from Munupi Arts and Craft Association

 - October 22nd 2018 -

Interview by Colin Puruntatameri


What is your role within Tiwi community? With ANKA and Munupi Arts? 

I would like to work for my people. Also looking after the archives, the old stories we keep. Another thing is looking after the art worker and painting. Keeping the (artwork) safe for the artist.

A lot of your work in the past has been on canvas, would you think about having your design on fabric?

 Yeah, I wanted to make more design so they can make clothes; Bags, shoes, pants, hats etc.  

How do you feel wearing Tiwi design clothes?

Well, it’s good to wear Tiwi design clothes, mainly when traveling around so that people know that we are from the Tiwi Islands.

How do you feel about your design being in the North Strong Women’s Collection?

It is good, putting my design there (on fabric).

What design did you choose for the collection, and what does it mean for you?

Well the design I am doing now is the dragging net. The colours I use the most is black and white.

Since your design is being used for North Strong Women’s Collection, would you like to see your design in next year’s Indigenous round? 


With the training you did with ANKA, what would you like to do with that? 

I would like to travel around with the new (ANKA) students, to show that I am still apart of the ANKA crew. I would like to take some new people from the Tiwi Islands to show them around and tell them about ANKA.

What do you want to see in the future for Munupi Art Centre?

Well I want to see them grow. Get more young people to do artworks properly and teach them how to use computers. 

What do you want out of your artwork?

My design. Well, I would like to show other art workers and share it with them. Also, I would like to show young kids as well.

So that they can do all forms of art and not just one style?



Bernadette is someone who has been to a couple of boarding schools; Kormilda college in Darwin and Slade College in Warwick (Brisbane). She has also done further training with ANKA which increased her knowledge about the art industry. She is passionate about drawing the young people into the Art Centre and protecting the archives. The Art Centre is seen as a place where cultural knowledge is passed down in the form of art through paintings and carving.