Public Program 

Pedro Wonaeamirri in conversation with Jonathan Jones

When | Wednesday 19 February, 6–8pm
Location | Ground floor, Artspace 


(left) Pedro Wonaeamirri, 2019. Photo: Will Heathcote; (right) Jonathan Jones. Photo: Mark Pokorny

(left) Pedro Wonaeamirri, 2019. Photo: Will Heathcote; (right) Jonathan Jones. Photo: Mark Pokorny


Join us on Wednesday 19 February, 6–8pm, for an in conversation between senior Tiwi artist Pedro Wonaeamirri and Jonathan Jones to discuss our current Ideas Platform exhibition Jilamara: circles, dots, lines, and the role of tradition within contemporary Tiwi art.

Jilamara: circles, dots, lines presents the work of nine artists from the Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association, and is the first group presentation of work from Jilamara in a non-profit contemporary art space.

This event is free and open to all, but RSVP is essential




Pedro Wonaeamirri grew up in Pirlangimpi (Pularumpi) on Melville Island. He was educated in Darwin and returned to the Tiwi Islands in 1989, where he moved to Milikapiti the same year that Jilamara Arts and Crafts was incorporated. He has been exhibiting since this time and his artworks are in many national, state and private collections Australia-wide and overseas. Pedro is a senior cultural leader on the Tiwi Islands with a significant and strong knowledge of the 'hard' Tiwi language and all of the songs and dance important in Tiwi Culture. He is a board member on several organisations including the Tiwi Land Council and the Tiwi Education Board. His country, Andranganoo (Goose Creek) is on the eastern side of Melville Island “the land or country where I come from is from my father’s father, my grandfather”.

Pedro's art is steeped in Tiwi tradition, yet is timeless. His contemporary art practice has its foundations in Jilamara – “design” derived from ceremonial body painting and the ornate decoration applied to Tutini poles, Tunga bark baskets, and associated ritual objects made for ceremony and Tiwi Yoi (dance).

Pedro continues to exclusively use ochres sourced from in and around his place of work in Milikapiti. He applies these colours of Tiwi country with meticulous fine detail and tools tradi-tionally used to apply decoration to the skin. "The designs are already in my head and I use the Kayimwagakimi our traditional wooden comb made from ironwood and natural ochres from the island to paint."

Jonathan Jones is a Wiradjuri and Kiamilaori artist, curator and researcher. He is currently Senior Researcher, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, University of Technology Sydney.