This artwork is part of a special slideshow feature for the fundraising auction Ochre: Supporting Indigenous Health through Art at Mossgreen Auction House, Melbourne Australia. This auction is held on Tuesday 14th October, 2008 at 5.30-8.30pm. RSVP Essential by Monday 6th October to +61 3 9726 0551.

The designs (jilamara) that I paint today are inspired by watching my close relatives that have passed away and also seeing their works in galleries and museums, that is how I have developed my own style.

This design “˜Pwoja Jilamara“’ is based on the pukumani (funeral) ceremony. A bit of the design is based on a small ceremony, when the in-laws go out bush and collect the timber to carve a pole for the ceremony and begin to paint it. When the poles are ready they are then placed on a ceremonial dancing ground. When attending the dancing ground the design is painted again differently. My painting is inspired from the fi rst ceremony to the fi nal dancing ground.

I use natural ochres that I collect from around Milikapiti community where I live. There are four colours that I use when I am painting on canvas, paper, bark or ironwood carvings. The white ochre is near the beach and the yellow ochre is inland. To achieve the red ochre we burn the yellow ochre. I use paint brushes and a pwoja (wooden painting comb) I normally make myself from ironwood.

The lines of the brush represent the miyinga (scars on the body) and the dots from the pwoja represent yirrinkiripwoja (body painting) and it all comes together to disguise me from the mapurtiti (bad spirits of the dead).

Ochre recognises the NAVA code of practice in acknowledging that Pedro Wonaeamirri is represented by Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

© Pedro Wonaeamirri and Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association