Tiwi Artists

D. Kerinauia 

Passed April 27th, 2021
Skin: Anjiluwi (Rain)
Country: Tamalampi
Dance: Tartuwali (Shark) 


Kaye Brown

Skin: Takaringuwi (Scaly Mullet)
Country: Andranangoo (Goose Greek)
Dance: Tartuwali (Shark)

Kaye Brown is a senior Jilamara artist who began painting in 2012.

Prior to joining Jilamara, Kaye taught at the local primary school and worked at the library. Kaye is a proud grandmother to 15 grandchildren living across Australia. She is passionate about teaching culture to the next generation.

Her work has featured in major group exhibitions across the country since 2015. In 2018, Kaye was nominated for the 35th NATSIAA Telstra Awards and the inaugural King and Wood Mallesons Contemporary ATSI Art Prize.

Kaye paints using the Kayimwagakimi, the traditional Tiwi painting ‘comb’ carved from ironwood. Her work features themes about being on country on the Tiwi Islands, the sun, the stars, the sky and bush tucker.


Michelle Woody

Skin: Miyartuwi (Pandanus)
Country: Pupatuwu
Dance: Kapala (Sailing Boat)

Michelle is currently the President of Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association. She is also Jilamara’s part-time gallery assistant, mother to three daughters and board member of ANKA (the peak body for Art Centres in the top end).

Michelle moved from Pirlangimpi to Milikapiti in the 1980’s. She attended high school at St John’s in Darwin and Slade in Brisbane. She has worked in counselling support for Indigenous Health, Relationships Australia, the Red Cross and Menzies Health before joining Jilamara. 

She started painting at Jilamara with her partner Nicholas Mario in 2012, whilst raising three young girls.   

Michelle paints on canvas and paper and has made limited edition prints.

Her works are based on the stories of Japarra the moon man and Japalinga the stars, bush food and hunting. She is slowly developing her own Jilamara designs to share these stories in new ways. She likes to paint Tiwi bush medicine and winga (the sea) surrounding Milikapiti.



Nina Lydwina Puruntatameri

Skin: March Fly
Country: Pukulimpi
Dance: Kirilima (Jungle Fowl) 

Nina Puruntatameri was taught to paint by her father, Romuald Puruntatameri. As a 14 year old, she would come home from school and work with him, painting his spears. Nina Puruntatameri has worked at both Nguiu Adult Education and Munupi Arts & Crafts doing bark painting, screen printing, works on linen, etchings and linocuts. In 1993 Nina Puruntatameri won the Award for New Medium at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in Darwin, providing recognition for her exceptional skills in etching.


Cornelia Tipuamantumirri

Country: Imalu Point
Dance: Jarrikalani (Turtle)

Cornelia Tipuamantumirri was born adjacent to the present day barge landing at Pirlangimipi, around 1930. When she was a young woman she would assist young weavers to aquire skill and knowledge in this artform.  She would also teach the young ones traditonal Tiwi dance.Cornelia Tipuamantumirri married Steven Tipuamantamirri as a young lady and has one child, a daughter, Dolores Tipuamantamirri. Cornelia Tipuamantumirri also helped raise a young boy from Peppimenarti, Harry Wilson, who was part of the Stolen Generation sent to Pirlangimpi and later married the well known Peppimenarti artist Regina Wilson. Cornelia Tipuamantumirri uses the kayimwagakimi for her work, dipping the comb shaped carved ironwood into her ochre palette; shades of pinks and yellows to portray the reflections of her long life lived on the Tiwi Islands. Reflections also, of the skyes’ lights on the surface of the Arafura Sea.


Bernadette Mungatopi

Country: Purrurpunali
Dance: Yirrikapayi (Crocodile)


Bernadette undertook most of her secondary schooling at Kormilda College in 1987, then went on to complete year 11 at Slade College in Warwick (Brisbane). After returning to Milikapiti (Snake Bay), Bernadette took up a job at the Womens Centre cooking for the elderly In 2000.

She moved to Pirlangimpi with her partner Robert Puruntatameri and their 4 kids.  Bernadette began painting at Munupi in 2005, experimenting with natural ochres on canvas, as well as acrylic on canvas.

Bernadette has recently moved back to Milikapiti to be closer to her family and her fathers country and now paints at Jilamara Arts and Crafts.