Body paint Jilamara, by Alan Kerinauia
Artist - Alan Kerinauia
Alan was born in Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island in 1964. “I been here at Tiwi Design since the early days. I was seeing people starting off the screenprinting - Bede and Giovanni - I see my families, painting, carving. So when I left school in 1983 I came to Tiwi Design and started working with Bede, Giovanni, Osmond Kantilla.
“I love seeing the famous people wearing my designs, and coming up with different bright colours to print.”
In 2014 Alan attended workshops at Megalo print studio in Canberra with fellow Tiwi Artist Vivienne Warlapinni to create six new fabric designs and 12 T-shirt designs, which are now held in the National Gallery of Australia.
“I made this bodypaint/Jilamara design in Canberra in 2014. First we made it to print on a t’shirt - but I wanted to blow it up in the darkroom to fill a whole screen.
Jilamara means painting or design - Tiwi people do Jilamara on their body, on a screen, or paint it on canvas. In the old days people did Jilamara through making a scar on their body with a shell. Nowdays they do Jilamara with paint. Old people paint Jilamara for ceremony on the young kids, and they paint up themselves looking in the mirror.
Jilamara can have lots of different meanings - like the pattern of a crocodile, like a shark, or water, or coral reef, or the tide. It can tell the story of any of the four skin groups - sun, pandanus, rock, or mullet (fish).
My Jilamara is patterns of things that live on the land and the sea. Triangles can mean sugarbag; triangles with dots can be honey bee. The full lines they represent a creek or a river. The lines and dot are sort of like a snake. Dots are waterholes or people. That’s all in my design.”
Alan’s design is hand screen printed at Tiwi Design, Wurrumiyanga (Nguiu), on Bathurst Island (Tiwi Islands), 80km North of Darwin. Tiwi Design aims to promote, preserve and enrich Tiwi culture – it supports over 100 artists to do painting, wood sculptures, textiles, ceramics, pandanus weaving and printmaking. Tiwi Design started from a small room under Catholic Presbytery on Bathurst Island in 1968, with Bede Tungatalum and Giovanni Tipungwuti working with the school art teacher, Madeline Clear, to produce wood block prints. By 1969 Tiwi artists were transferring their designs onto silk screens, and textiles quickly became a major activity for Tiwi Designs artists.
See more at: tiwidesigns.com