Tiwi Textiles: Design, Making, Process tells the story of the innovative Tiwi Design centre on Bathurst Island in northern Australia, dedicated to the production of hand-printed fabrics featuring Indigenous designs, from the 1970s to today. Written by early art coordinator Diana Wood Conroy with oral testimony from senior Tiwi artist Bede Tungutalum, who established Tiwi Design in 1969 with fellow designer Giovanni Tipungwuti, the book traces the beginnings of the centre, and its subsequent place in the Tiwi community and Australian Indigenous culture more broadly.
Bringing together many voices and images, especially those of little-known older artists of Paru and Wurrumiyanga (formerly Nguiu) on the Tiwi Islands and from the Indigenous literature, Tiwi Textiles features profiles of Tiwi artists, accounts of the development of new design processes, insights into Tiwi culture and language, and personal reflections on the significance of Tiwi Design, which is still proudly operating today.
'Tiwi Textiles is a unique historical document, a formidable vindication of the accomplishments of great Indigenous artists, and an account of a missing chapter in world art history. The book is a wonderful chronicle of a vital and fertile period for Tiwi practice in the emergence of contemporary Indigenous art. But it is also a charter for the future.'
— Nicholas Thomas FBA FAHA Director, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
'Wood Conroy not only writes, intricately and sensitively, a vital history of Tiwi art: she also firms up the place of fibre and textiles practices in Indigenous art and leaves space for us to consider how art history can shift to become more responsive to the lived realities of Indigenous peoples and our non-Indigenous accomplices.' — Tristen Harwood, The Saturday Paper
Bede Tungutalum, Tiwi names Ampuruwaiuah, Tuuntulumi, Tiwi people, was born in 1952 in Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island, northern Australia, where he still lives. His work is held in museums and galleries throughout Australia, including a significant collection in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. In 2020, Bede received the Special Recognition Award at the inaugural National Indigenous Fashion Awards for his contribution to the Indigenous art and design industry over many decades.
Diana Wood Conroy, born 1944 in Sydney, is an artist and scholar whose longstanding involvement with Aboriginal communities began in 1974 when she was coordinator of Tiwi Design on Bathurst Island. Her research interests combine contemporary visual cultures with the archaeology of fresco and textiles in Cyprus in many publications. Her artwork is held in national and international collections. Diana is Emeritus Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Wollongong, Australia.
Author note: Diana Wood Conroy
Introduction to Tiwi Design
Chapter 1: Context and beginnings
Chapter 2: Early development of Tiwi Design
Chapter 3: Repeating patterns
Chapter 4: Regimes of value
Chapter 5: Art of Paru
Chapter 6: Approaching pattern in Tiwi Design and Paru
Afterword: Diana Wood Conroy
"Wood Conroy not only writes, intricately and sensitively, a vital history of Tiwi art: she also firms up the place of fibre and textiles practices in Indigenous art and leaves space for us to consider how art history can shift to become more responsive to the lived realities of Indigenous peoples and our non-Indigenous accomplices."
Tristen Harwood The Saturday Paper
Size: 250 × 200 mm
Copyright: © 2022
Publication: 01 Dec 2022