Traditional Tiwi Culture placed special significance on the Pukumani (funeral) ceremony. Mourners are decorated using natural ochres to disguise themselves from the spirit of the deceased and song and dance is performed to honour the dead. Yirrinkiripwoja (body paint) is the source of many contemporary Tiwi designs and performance of the pukumani as ritual helps to reinvigorate the imagery. The shortening of the word to Pwoja – also refers to ‘best’.
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