The artist has created a contemporary and individual interpretation of the symbolic Jilamara (designs) that the Tiwi people used traditionally to decorate bodies, burial poles, spears and bark baskets. The designs are representative of the designs painted on the faces and bodies of participants in life-cycle ceremonies.
The Tiwi people inhabit Bathurst and Melville Islands, north-east of Darwin.
Thecla Puruntatameri Biography – courtesy Munupi Arts
Born in 1971, Thecla Bernadette Puruntatameri was an artist working here at Munupi, she now works at Pularumpi School here at Pularumpi, Melville Island. She was working here for a very long time from 1989 to 1994. She used to do a lot of screen printing, she printed fabric and did etchings, linoprints, paintings and pottery. Munupi Arts has placed her paintings, prints and pottery works for exhibitions here in Australia and even overseas. Thecla demonstrated printing at the Pacific Arts Festival Raratonga, Cook Islands in 1992. She participated in printing workshops in Canberra (1998) and completed a Certificate II in Arts and Crafts with Batchelor College.
Thecla has been active painting and exhibiting in recent years.
Aboriginal Fertility prints
This is one of a range of 14 limited edition screen-prints on paper exclusively available through Songlines. The prints have not been exhibited or offered for sale since 1999, the year they were created by eight Indigenous women artists. Images of the prints were used as slides by Fay Nelson, then Director Aboriginal Arts Board, Australia Council, in her keynote address at the landmark Sydney IVF Fertility Conference held at Darling Harbour Conference Centre.
The prints and Dr Nelson’s essay ‘Aboriginal Fertility’ are documented in the conference proceedings published as Towards Reproductive Certainty – Fertility and Genetics beyond 1999 edited by Robert Jansen and David Mortimer with the assistance of Karen Coote, published by The Parthenon Publishing Group.