In 1969, six Aboriginal men from Milingimbi, Port Keats (Wadeye) and Bathurst Island began their traineeships at Bagot Pottery: a ceramic and clay processing unit founded by the Northern Territory Welfare Department and the Department of Industrial Arts at the University of New South Wales. 2018 marks the 50 year anniversary of the establishment of a pottery studio at Bagot Reserve in Darwin.

Two Tiwi men, Eddie Puruntatameri and John Bosco Tipiloura showed particular promise and upon their return to Bathurst Island in 1972 they established Tiwi Pottery. Over a decade later in 1984 Pirlangimpi Pottery, was established on Melville Island.

Feeling for Pattern: 50 years of Tiwi pottery is a small exhibition of Tiwi pottery highlighting the evolution, style and direction of Tiwi pottery over 50 years. You can come and see this work in the Sea View Lounge from Saturday 17 March.

This Image is of a work by Cyril James Kerinauia and Sylvester Victor Robert Fernando called ‘Hunting Party’ (1999). Prior to European contact, Tiwi people depended upon their hunting and gathering skills to survive. Today, with access to food in shops, the Tiwi normally hunt their favourite foods whenever they have time, often on the weekends and during school holidays. Vehicles are an essential part of the modern hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and this aspect of Tiwi life is beautifully illustrated in Kerinauia’s artwork, with decorations by Sylvester Fernando. This sculpture, hand-built with slabs and coils of clay, is very different to the wheel-thrown pots, plates, and other functional items normally made at Tiwi Pottery.

This piece was awarded the Wandjuk Marika Memorial Three-Dimensional Award at the 16th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 1999 and will be on display as part of Feeling for pattern.

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IMAGE: Cyril James Kerinauia and Sylvester Victor Robert Fernando Hunting party 1999 Earthenware with polychrome underglazes Shell Development Australia Aboriginal Art Acquisition Fund 1999. MAGNT Collection. ABETH 3480 ©the artists c/o Tiwi Design Aboriginal Corporation