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Bede Tungutalum

born 1952

Bede Tungutalum was born at Nguiu, Bathurst Island, in 1952. While attending Xavier Boys School at Nguiu, he was taught how to cut woodblocks for printing. His earliest prints date from the late 1960s. In 1969, together with Giovanni Tipungwuti, Tungutalum established Tiwi Designs, to produce printed fabric which incorporated traditional designs. He has travelled to Papua New Guinea and Canada, and was artist-in-residence with his wife, Francine, at Flinders University in South Australia. Tungutalum works in carved and painted wooden sculpture, lino and textile prints, etchings and carvings. He has exhibited widely.

Tungutalum draws on his Tiwi artistic traditions to produce his prints: “It is good to show the other Australians that we can produce beautiful works of art, using white mans techniques but doing Aboriginal way of art. What I do at Tiwi Designs is printing and designing. I also do carving which I enjoy doing most. Now I’m on to canvas painting. I put a lot of work into this. It’s good to see that other young Tiwi men are doing carving and canvas painting and also printing at Tiwi Designs. I hope that Tiwi designs will keep it up in the future, the good work of art”.

© Australianprints
Biography courtesy of The Australian Art Print Network and National Gallery of Australia, 2002.