Art, Culture, Country

Partnering with remote Indigenous Art Centres to deliver a landmark digital project that empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create and share unique arts and cultural experiences with the world.


Art, Culture, Country

Partnering with remote Indigenous Art Centres to deliver a landmark digital project that empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create and share unique arts and cultural experiences with the world.

Explore Art CentresRight Arrow
Art Centres

Jilamara Arts & Crafts

Established in 1989, Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association is owned and governed by Tiwi artists from Milikapiti community on Melville Island. Through workshops, training, support and representation, Jilamara artists are supported to build careers as internationally renowned artists. In the community, the art centre is an important place for children to learn culture through culture classes and for young people to learn from their elders to build bright futures.

Lot 218/219, Milikapiti NT 0822

Featured Artists

Born: 1958

Region: Mananowmi/Paluwiyanga (Goose Creek)

Timothy has been creating paintings, prints and carvings at Jilamara Arts and Craft since 1999. His art is very personal to him; he likes the ‘old designs’ which he learnt from his elders. He paints dots (pwanga) as elements of his designs; dots are his ‘favourite’ due to the fact that ochre dots are applied to his face for ceremonies. The dots are applied by his bunji – a kinship relationship term which means mate, or in-law. Timothy paints exclusively with natural ochre and his artworks are highly sort after by major collections both nationally and internationally. Timothy won the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Art Award in 2012 and has been shortlisted for many others including the Hadley Art Award in 2019.

Born: 1972

Region: Pupatuwu (Fourcroy)

Michelle Woody is a strong Tiwi culture woman and artist whose distinct painting style has been recognised on a national level. She often uses the distinct Tiwi pwoja (ironwood comb) to paint depictions of Ngiya Murakupuni (My Country), winga (saltwater) and jlamara (Tiwi body paint design). Since joining Jilamara, Michelle has taken on key governance roles, and is the current Executive President and Gallery Assistant at Jilamara where she has a key role overseeing the Muluwurri Museum collection held at the art centre in Milikapiti. Michelle has participated in many leadership programs including the ANKA Artsworker Extension Program and Wesfarmers Indigenous Leadership Program, and has completed a Specialist Certificate in Arts Conservation from the Grimwade Centre at the University of Melbourne.

Born: 1954

Region: Mananowmi/Paluwiyanga (Goose Creek)

Kaye is a senior Tiwi culture woman. She is well versed in the old ways, traditional stories and speaks the ‘hard’ Tiwi language. She uses the Kayimwagakimi (carved ironwood comb) and natural ochres for Melville Island to paint. Her jilamara (body paint design) and pwoja (body) styles are very layered and reminiscent of some of the old Tiwi artists and the body painting styles they used to prepare for ceremony and yoi (dance). Kaye loves teaching culture to the local primary school children who come to Jilamara for culture classes in the Museum. She has a wealth of local knowledge about Tiwi culture and the history of the Tiwi people and ancestors.

Born: 1974

Region: Andranangoo (Goose Greek)

Johnathon Bush expresses his views on equality, culture, art and language through painting, writing and song. His ochre paintings present a unique combination of Tiwi culture and his personal views on global politics, family and cultural heritage. He adopts some painting techniques that reflect jilamara (Tiwi body paint design) and combines them with representations of political figureheads, stories of colonial crimes against indigenous people or adaptations of old anthropological images made of the Tiwi. “I hope my artwork gives a glimpse into my strong beliefs of a want for world peace and equality for all humankind.”

Born: 1946

Region: Purumpanali/Wulirankuwu (Karslake)

Mary was born in the bush between Mudlow and Purumpunali beach on Melville Island. Her father was a strong culture man who was the leader for ceremonies in the area. When Mary was a young child she was taken to the mission on Bathurst Island. She returned aged 18, and when she arrived her father took her to a Kulama ceremony and taught her how to dance. She listened to her father singing songs. She did not understand them at first because she had only learnt English. Later her parents taught her to speak Tiwi and to understand the songs. Mary has lived at Milikapiti ever since and is a Traditional Owner of the area. At Jilamara, Mary paints on paper and canvas and draws on memories of her father’s paintings as well as finding inspiration in the rich natural harvest of the island by painting yinkiti (bush tucker) and mirrijini kapiwarta (bush medicine).

Born: 1974

Region: Paluwiyanga/Andranganoo (Goose Creek)

Pedro grew up in Pirlangimpi (Pularumpi) on Mellville Island. As a teenager he moved with his family to Milikapiti. He was educated in Darwin, and fortuitously in 1989, on his return to Milikapiti, the fledgling arts centre Jilamara Arts and Crafts was incorporated. Pedro’s country Andranganoo is on the eastern side of Melville Island. His art is steeped in Tiwi tradition yet is timeless. Pedro has been exhibiting since 1989 and his artworks are in many national, state and private collections Australia wide and overseas. Pedro is a senior Culture man of the Tiwi Islands with a significant and strong knowledge of the ‘hard’ Tiwi language and all of the songs and dancing important in Tiwi Culture.

Born: 1978

Region: Paluwiyanga/Andranganoo (Goose Creek)

Michelle Bush is an artist and arts worker at Jilamara Arts. She was born in Darwin and has lived most of her life in Milikapiti. Michelle raised four children as a single mother, working as an assistant teacher at Milikapiti Primary School for 12 years. With her children grown, Michelle now has the time to focus on her art practice at Jilamara. She works predominantly in painting on canvas and paper. Through her practice Michelle recreates and explores Parlingarri and Parlini Jilamara, the old stories and designs of Tiwi cultural tradition of her ancestors. Michelle finds strength in carrying on traditional Tiwi culture and sees the importance of passing on this knowledge to the youth of her community. 

Born: 1973

Region: Munupi (Maxwell Creek)

Patrick began painting with Jilamara Arts and Craft when he left school at 17. He has been part of the organisation as it has developed into a prominent arts organisation since the late 1980s. He said he always wanted to be an artist, learning from his father Paddy Freddy Puruntatameri, a highly respected and renowned carver. Paddy taught young Patrick “to do this and to do that”. He drew for him, taught him how to use the chisel and mallet properly as well as showing him the right wood to use for carving and to make spears. Paddy showed him the right colours for painting, how to make red and where to get it. Patrick’s works are held in many major collections Australia wide including the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) and the Queensland Art Gallery (Brisbane). 

Wally Brooks is a young carver and artist at Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association. He is mentored by senior carver Patrick Freddy Puruntatameri and spends most of his days working in the open air Murrunungumirri carving workshop. He uses locally sourced ironwood and earth pigments to make tokwampini (birds), figurative works which represent the Tiwi creation story, tutuni poles and ceremonial spears.

Wally is also a staff member at the organization, collecting ironwood and ochres for the studios and he also heads up the bark collecting team during wet season – harvesting and seasoning purrungupari (flat barks) and tunga (bark baskets) for artists to paint throughout the year. Wally is also a keen dancer contributes to many of the funded culture projects here at the art centre, often helping senior artists teach culture and share skills with the local primary and high school students through the Culture Class program. He has sat on the Executive Committee of the organisation and is a strong voice for the art centre’s young membership.

A Project by Agency

UPLANDS is an immersive digital project that has been designed to celebrate Indigenous Art Centres and share Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artistic and cultural practices with the world.

This large scale immersive digital mapping project features over twenty remote Indigenous Art Centres, and interviews with over 150 Indigenous artists and arts workers from across the country.

UPLANDS is a project by Agency and has been funded by the Australian Government through the Restart to Invest, Sustain and Expand (RISE) program and the Indigenous Visual Art Industry Support (IVAIS) program.




Principal Partner

Government Partners

Project Partners

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Sovereign Custodians of the land on which we live and work. We extend our respects to their Ancestors and all First Nations peoples and Elders past, present, and future.