Bede Tungutalum



         


Bede Tungutalum

Alternative Spelling: Tungatalum, Bea; Tungutalam 
Also Known As: Ampuruwaiuah 


Born: 		1952 
Region: 		Bathurst & Melville Islands 
Community: 	Bathurst Island, Nguiu 
Outstation: 	Murnupi 
Language: 	Tiwi 
Social Affiliation: 	Yarinapinila (red ochre) skingroup 

Medium: Carved and painted wooden sculpture, linocut textile. 

Awards: 
1986 - Rothmans Foundation Award [Best painting in a traditional media], 
National Aboriginal Art Award, Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences, Darwin. 

Commissions: 
1981 - Artist in Residence for six months, with Francine Tungatalum at 
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.

Collections:
Artbank, Sydney. 
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. 
Campbelltown City Art Gallery 
Central Collection, Australian National University, Canberra. 
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide. 
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin. 
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne. 
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. 
National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney. 
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. 
University of Queensland, Anthropology Museum, St Lucia. 


Exhibitions:
2005 - Black Ink: Indigenous Prints from the Queensland Art Gallery Collection, 
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. 
2003 - 20th Telstra National Aborigainal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, 
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin. 
1995 - The Twelfth National Aboriginal Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the 
Northern Territory, Darwin. 
1994 - The Eleventh National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art 
Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin; Malu Urul, National Maritime Museum, Sydney. 
1993 - The Tenth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery 
of the Northern Territory, Darwin; Ten years of acquisitions,from ANU collection, 
Drill Hall Gallery ACT 
1992/3 - New Tracks Old Land: An Exhibition of Contemporary Prints from Aboriginal 
Australia, touring USA and Australia. 
1992 - Working in the Round, Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide. 
1990 - The Seventh National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery 
of the Northern Territory, Darwin; Munupi Dreaming, Shades of Ochre, Darwin; 
Balance 1990: views, visions, influences, QAG, Brisbane. 
1989 - The Sixth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of 
the Northern Territory, Darwin; Prints by Seven Australian Aboriginal Artists, 
international touring exhibition, through Print Council and Department of Foreign 
Affairs & Trade; On the edge - five contemporary Aboriginal artists, AGWA, Perth; 
Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. 
1988 - The Inspired Dream, Life as art in Aboriginal Australia, Museum and Art Gallery 
of the Northern Territory and touring internationally; Australian Aboriginal Graphics 
from the Collection of the Flinders University Art Museum, Flinders University, SA. 
1987 - The Fourth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of 
the Northern Territory, Darwin; Australian Aboriginal Views in Print and Poster, Print 
Council of Australia, travelling exhibition. 
1986 - The Third National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of 
the Northern Territory, Darwin. 
1985 - The Second National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of 
the Northern Territory, Darwin. 
1984 - The First National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of 
the Northern Territory, Darwin; Aboriginal Art, an Exhibition, Presented by the Australian 
Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra. 
1978, The Territorian Craft Acquisition Award, Crafts Association, NT 


Select Bibliography:
1989, Nothing to Celebrate? Australian Aboriginal Political Art and the Bicentennial, 
exhib. cat., Flinders University Art Museum. (C) 

Butler, R., 1986, 'From dreamtime to machine time,' Imprint 21(3-4), 7. (C)
 
Caruana, W., 1987, Australian Aboriginal Art, a Souvenir Book of Aboriginal Art in 
the Australian National Gallery, Australian National Gallery, Parkes, Australian 
Capital Territory. (C) 
Caruana, W., 1993, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson, London. (C) 

Cochrane, G., 1992, The Crafts Movement in Australia: a History, New South Wales 
University Press, Kensington, New South Wales. (C) 

O'Ferrall, M., 1989, On the Edge - Five Contemporary Aboriginal Artists, exhib. 
cat., Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. 

Perkins H. 'Beyond the Year of Indigenous Peoples' in Art and Australia 1993 
Vol 31 No 1 p 98-101. 

Samuels, J and C. Watson, 1987, Australian Aboriginal views in print and poster, 
Print Council of Australia, Melbourne. 

Smith, H., 1990, Tiwi, the life and art of Australia's Tiwi people, Angus & Robertson, 
Australia Watson, C., 

1990, 'The Bicentenary and beyond: recent developments in Aboriginal 
printmaking,' Special Double Issue Artlink 10(1&2), 70-73. (C) 

West, M.K.C., (ed.), 1988, The Inspired Dream, Life as art in Aboriginal 
Australia, exhib. cat., Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. 

Department of the Chief Minister, Northern Territory of Australia, 1983, 
'Tiwi Design in Export Drive,' Digest of Australia's Northern Territory, Special 
Self Government Issue, 1 July, 22-25. (C)
 
1990, Munupi Dreaming, exhib. cat., Shades of Ochre Gallery, Darwin. (C)


 Discovery Media, Documentation Pty Ltd, and the Australian 
Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies


Notes: Bede Tungutalum is regarded as the most important artist of the Tiwi tribe. From the time he was a little boy he watched his father, famous sculptor Gabriel Tungutalum, carving pukumani poles and birds from ironwood. As he grew older and passed through various age-grading ceremonies, Bede was taught how to carve and paint, and the significance of the designs. Now that most of the old ceremonial carvers are dead, Bede,60 years of age, has become the leading authority on tribal traditions. When a screen business was set up on Bathurst Island some years ago, Bede quickly learnt this new form of art and his designs on material became very popular. After a time he realised that his heart lay in carving the ironwood sculptures he had been taught to do by his father, and these are now in art galleries and museums worldwide. Realising that the traditional art had almost vanished because young men were occupied in sporting prowess (they are among the most talented footballers in Australia), he persuaded a small group to keep alive their culture by learning carving skills and ceremonial stories from him.