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Benedict Munkara | Jerry Kerinauia | Black Joe Wombadiemeri Tiwi Art

Benedict Munkara, Jerry Kerinauia, and Black Joe Wombadiemeri were all great Pioneer Tiwi artists. The reason not much known about them is because they all died before commercial collecting took off.

The aim of this article is to assist readers in identifying if their Tiwi art is by Benedict Munkara, Jerry Kerinauia or Black Joe Wombadiemeri . It compares the few known examples of their artwork.

If you have art by Benedict Munkara, Jerry Kerinauai or Black Joe Wombadiemeri please contact me. If you want to know what your art by Benedict Munkara, Jerry Kerinauai, and Black Joe Wombadiemeri is worth to me please feel free to send me a Jpeg. I would love to see it.

Black Joe Wombadiemeri

Black Joe was a major artist of his time and a highly respected individual. His works on bark often have circles with radiating lines. He also did several crocodile based pieces. He participated in the Snake bay patrols with Deaf Tommy in world war two and spoke excellent english.

He was also renowned as one of the best carvers of Tiwi island spears

Jerry Kerinauia

Jerry Kerinauia was a versatile artist and was a well-known carver and bark painter. He carved animals and humans but is best known for his carvings of pelicans.

He was commissioned by collector John Morris to do several barks. many of these had historical themes. These included the Tiwi and Larrakiya battles and people at a ceremony.

Jerry was the younger brother of the better known Cardo

Benedict Munkara

Brother to the more prominent Enraeld Munkara Benedict did not produce many pieces. The pieces that Benedict Munkara did produce though are of superb quality. His figures are more realistic than many and very well painted.

Tiwi Art History

Since the turn of the twentieth century, the Tiwi have had regular contact with the outside world. They have maintained and adapted many of their customary practices. The most important is the performance of their main ceremonies, the Pukumani and the Kulama.

The Kulama was once primarily an initiation ceremony for both men and women. Today its main function is promoting health and the regeneration of life.

The Pukumani mortuary ceremony involved a series of performances over a period of time after a person’s death. It concluded with the cutting of the burial pole tree. This burial pole was then erected at the grave site. All Tiwi are still expected to take part in these ceremonies. They should sing, dance and carve a Tutini (Pukumani pole) if commissioned by the deceased’s relatives. These Tutini funeral poles are the most famous Tiwi objects. Tutuni represents the body of the deceased or one of the ancestral beings.

Other distinctive items customarily made for the Pukumani ceremony included Tunga. Tunga are large painted bark baskets.

Many Tiwi artists also did Painting on Bark.

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Other works by Benedict Munkara | Jerry Kerinauia | Black Joe Wombadiemeri

The following images give a good idea as to the variety of early Tiwi Sculpture artists works.

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