• Artist: Raelene Kerinauia
  • Art Centre: Jilamara Arts and Crafts
  • Region: Tiwi Islands

Artwork Story

Raelene was born in 1962 on Bathurst Island and raised by her grandmother.  Her older brother Vivian is also a painter. Raelene began designing screens for fabric printing in 1985 as a part of the adult education programme in Milikapiti and then started to paint when the new arts centre (Jilamara Arts and Crafts) was established in 1989. Initially she used brushes with ochres but since 1999 has used the traditional painting techniques of using comb – kayimwagakini.   Combs were used for ceremonial body painting application and are typically made from bloodwood or ironwood.


Raelene was inspired to use the traditional technique of kayimwagakini after watching young and emerging artist PedroWonaeamirri and viewing older pole carvings in the National Museum (Canberra) by the late Tiwi carver Sugarbag Kapiti.  The making of the comb is a skill itself and Raelene’s late husband, carver James Tipiloura carved Raelene’s painting combs.



1995 – Finalist, painting category, 13th NATSIAA, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin

2006 – Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award, Queensland Art Gallery

2007 – Finalist, painting category, 24th NATSIAA, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin

2011 – Bark Painting Award, 28th NATSIAA, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin



National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania

Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth, Western Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra ACT

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra ACT

Sammlung Essl Collection, Austria

Commonwealth Games Commission, Melbourne, Victoria

Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT

Museum of Confluences, Lyon, France

Museum and Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT

Wesfarmers Collection Australia

Stokes Collection, Victoria

University of  Newcastle



Living Tiwi: Tiwi Awuta Yimpanguwi, Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association, 2004

Schwerin, M. Kayimwagakimi: The painting of Raelene Kerinauia and Pedro Wonaeamirri, Art Monthly Australia, March 2005 #177

Kayimwagakimi jilamara, catalogue, Bandigan Art, Sydney 2005

Printmaking in the tropics: Cas Bennetto Origins 2006 Edition # 1

Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award 2006, catalogue Queensland Art Gallery

28th NATSIAA Awards, catalogue 2011, NT

Drawing from a Deep Tiwi Well, Nicholas Rothwell, The Australian, 2013


© Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association