Pedro Wonaeamirri Ausrralian, Tiwi, b. 1974

DANCE: Jilarti (Brolga)


Pedro Wonaeamirri was born in 1974. He grew up on Melville Island at Pularumpi (Gar-den Point). As a teenager he moved with his family to Milikapiti (Snake Bay), a commu-nity on the other side of the island. He was educated at a boarding school in Darwin, and fortuitously in 1989, on his return to Milikapiti, the fledgling arts centre Jilamara Arts and Craft had commenced. Pedro Wonaeamirri’s country is on the eastern side of Melville Island “the land or country where I come from is my father’s father, my grandfather”. Pedro Wonaeamirri’s art is steeped in Tiwi tradition; he has known no other way of communicating and thus his paintings, based on pwoja- body painting and his carved Pukumani Poles are his link to the tradition and to the future of the Tiwi people. Tiwi art is derived from ceremonial body painting and the ornate decoration applied to Pukumani funerary poles, Tunga bark baskets, and associated ritual objects made for the Pukumani ceremony. Traditionally the deceased Tiwi people are buried on the day they pass away, but the Pukumani ceremonies are performed six months to several years after the death.