Skip to main content

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Gallery is closed to the public until further notice. Learn more

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Kitty Kantilla and Freda Warlapinni at Milikapiti (Snake Bay), 2003

Jo Bertini

oil on canvas (support: 152.0 cm x 135.0 cm)

Kitty Kantilla (Kutuwulumi Purawarrumpatu) (c. 1928-2003) was the most acclaimed Tiwi artist of her generation. Kantilla was from Yimpinari country on Melville Island, off the west coast of the top of the Northern Territory. For a time she lived on nearby Bathurst Island, but in the 1970s she moved to Paru on Melville Island where she joined a group of women who sold their art at Nguiu. During this period she produced mainly carvings, but around 1985 she moved to Milikapiti, a nearby settlement, where she began to produce paintings at Jilamara Arts and Crafts. She is now best known for her ochre paintings on paper, canvas, bark and ironwood, incorporating traditional geometric designs. Her work is represented in most major Australian galleries, and the National Gallery of Victoria mounted a major touring retrospective of her art in 2007-2008. Freda Warlapinni (c. 1928-2004), also an artist, started painting in ochre on paper, bark and canvas in 1996. She lived with Kantilla in the 'widow's camp' on the coast of Melville Island for some years, and the two remained close, needling each other unrelentingly, for the rest of their lives.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds from the Basil Bressler Bequest 2004

Accession number: 2004.17

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Jo Bertini (age 39 in 2003)

Kitty Kantilla (age 75 in 2003)

Freda Warlapinni (age 75 in 2003)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related portraits

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.