Both the peoples of the Tiwi Islands and of the Yirrkala in the Nhulunbuy
area are prodigious carvers. Birds play a major role in both belief
systems. These are considered messengers from the" other world."
Tiwi people carve their birds from ironwood. It is both heavy and
hard, limiting the amount of detail that can be achieved. This limitation
is compensated for by the very detailed painting that decorates the
figure. Each tribe or clan has a unique cross-hatch pattern that is
used to create negative space and represent feathers.
of Nhulunbuy carve in soft woods that allow extensive incising.
The wood is much lighter. A full section of the carving is painted
with a solid color. Patterns are created by incising through the
color to the yellowish wood.
return to the Australian Aboriginal Art Gallery
Fort Myers, FL. 33908
2002 - 2017
Art of the First Person