The Tiwi people lived in their islands for as far as they can remember. So they have developed their own heritage and history, isolated from the mainland Aboriginals. When the white people found out about their isolated community, they sent a mission to instruct and somehow convert them into Catholicism. This humble Catholic church was built in the 1940s, and later the altar was all painted in indigenous motifs, including those of their natural “gods”. It was such a powerful experience to see that. I am not a Catholic myself, but having had some sort of influence, it was rather strange, at first, to see those two religious symbols blended together. Afterwards, it was overwhelming – to think how much these cultures have learned from each other, and how they have surpassed the many differences to build this amazing simple church together as a symbol of their friendship.
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The Bush Turkey
After showing us the traditional weaving of pandanus leaves into beautiful baskets and having morning tea, the Tiwi people transformed into their natural ancestors. This lady is the bush turkey. The wild animal they represent depends on the clan they come from and their surname. They then got together and performed a welcome dance, blessing us and keeping the bad spirits away.
Tiwi Islands artwork is really treasured around the world. Here in Darwin there is plenty to show, but its all really expensive. This is one of the main workshops we visited on the day trip. Unfortunately the artists were having a week off during their kid’s school holidays. It was nice though to see their tools, brushes - carving knifes – paint paint and more paint – always the same earthy colors! Amazing artwork all around – the inside dome is soo gorgeous, a collage of Tiwi paintings. And off course – the small rustic shop a wonderful bargain