• 19. Japarra and Japalinga (Moon and Stars)
  • 19. Japarra and Japalinga (Moon and Stars)
  • 19. Japarra and Japalinga (Moon and Stars)

Neil Black

19. Japarra and Japalinga (Moon and Stars)

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    • Locally sourced ochres on stringybark
    • Dimensions: 90 x 90cm
    • Cat No. 60-24

Neil Black is part of the Black, Brown and Bush families that have a long and extensive history working at indigenous owned and governed Jilamara Arts and Crafts in Milikapiti on the Tiwi Islands. Neil Black joined Jilamara in 2019 as part of the Ngawa Mantawi program and to make art with some of his family – notedly Chris Black and Kaye Brown. Translating as “All of Us Together”, the Ngawa Mantawi program is an inclusive disability program at the art centre, that aims to support members with diverse needs to have sustainable careers in the arts, while living at home close to family and Country. Although he has only been at the art centre for a few years, Neil Black is fast becoming a key member of this group. His art work focuses on “parlingarri jilamara “old designs” from the wulimawi “old people”. He is particularly driven to paint warnarringa, japarra and japalinga (sun, moon and stars) which forms a significant part of many of the Creation Stories and the celestial elements of Tiwi ceremonial culture, such as Kulama the coming of age ceremony. Since 2019, Neil has been in many group exhibitions and collaborative Jilamara projects, including Tiwi Papers at the Art Gallery of South Australia for Tarnanthi in 2021 and YOYI (dance) a collaborative film of 30 Tiwi artists dancing on Country that debuted in Berlin at Gropius Bau and The National 4 at MCA Australia in 2023. Wantaringuwi (sun) is one of the four main skin groups or tribes in Tiwi culture. Tiwi people inherit their Country from their father's family, becoming Traditional custodians for one of many distinct regions on the islands. They also often inherit their totem dance from their father's family as well. A person will perform their totem dance at ceremonies and events, they are often animals such as tartuwali (shark) and jarranga (buffalo), but also include kapala (sailing boat). Alternatively, a person's tribe is inherited from their mother. While there are many subgroups such as white cockatoo and scaly mullet all tribes fit into four main skin groups – sun, pandanus, stone and fish. Belonging to these groups articulates familial relations between people and often defines encouraged or not encouraged matches between people for marriage.

In Tiwi language, the term Jilamara refers to body paint design.

Established in 1989, Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association is owned and governed by Tiwi artists from Milikapiti community on Melville Island. The Tiwi Islands, Bathurst Island & Melville Island, are north of Darwin and have been home to Tiwi people since parlingarri (a long time ago). Milikapiti community is on the coast over overlooking the Arafura Sea. It’s a happy place, with strong families and strong culture.

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.

The Muluwurri Museum is an important keeping place for Tiwi culture and stories, important for remembering old ways and the old people who started Jilamara. For artists and community members, the art centre is a supportive workplace to learn new skills and earn money to support family.

Jilamara Arts is a place for everybody.

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Items purchased online that are part of an exhibition will be shipped at the end of the exhibition period.