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Melville Island Magic

THEY SAY TO appreciate the rainbow, you must first put up with the rain. So, if COVID is the rain, then Munupi Arts Christmas Pop Up Sale is surely the rainbow.

Located on Melville Island on the north coast of the Tiwi Islands, just over 100 clicks from Darwin, Munupi Arts & Crafts Association is a vital meeting place for the Tiwi people of the Pirlangimpi community.

Forced into a mostly online space for the better part of the past two years, the artists of Melville Island have forfeited physical exhibitions, adjusting to presenting their work in a digital format.

After a successful Christmas pop up market last year, Munupi Arts manager Guy Allain says they’re making tracks back to Darwin.

“Because of COVID, and restrictions meaning most of our shows were presented online, people haven’t had the opportunity to see [Munupi] artwork in the flesh. Last year at the Christmas pop up, we had a great response from the Darwin public, so we thought we’d do it again,” he says.

Face-to-face interaction has been sorely missed by the artists of Tiwi.

Artist Josephine Burak says they’re proud to share their work with art lovers.

“It is good for us to do pop up art sale in Darwin – it really helps us to show and sell our artworks and bring money to our community. It makes it also easy for people in Darwin to meet us and see our artwork, as it not really easy to come to visit us in Pirlangimpi on Melville Island,” she says.

Shirley and Jacqueline Puruntatameri, also artists, echo Josephine’s sentiments.

“It makes us happy and to show our paintings for the Darwin people to see. It is good to take the Tiwi culture and art to Darwin, makes us also proud.”

Showcasing a selection of over 300 works from more than 30 artists, these beautiful works feature the traditional colours used in Tiwi paintings of yellow, red, white and black ochre, reflecting the tradition of natural and found pigments.

Given the success of last year’s event, with all things going well for this month’s pop up market, Allain says it’s something they’ll look to continue in future.

“Maybe we’ll always do it because it turns out to be such a good thing for us. People from Darwin are happy to purchase Munupi paintings for Christmas presents or as a gift for themselves!”

So for a Christmas pressie with a difference, from a small community with big hearts, head along and immerse yourself in the wonderful work of Munupi Arts.

Munupi Arts Christmas Pop Up Sale
WHEN THU 11 – SAT 13 NOV 10AM-4.30PM

Thumbnail and header: Simplicia Tipungwuti, 'Pupuni Jilamara' (detail), 2021

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