Photographic essay on Tiwi; brief overview of contact period; Father Gsell and purchase of wives; end of polygamy; clan groups; hunting and gathering bush foods; human life cycle; myth of Purukuparli; mortuary practices; kurlama ceremony; use of alcohol; Tiwi art and artists.
“For thousands of years the Tiwi people of Bathurst and Meville islands in northern Australia believed that their two islands composed the entire world of living people. Their Dreamtime, their culture, flowed from this belief. The geographical isolation of the Tiwi has resulted in art forms that are unique to them and radically different from those of mainland Aborigines: majestic funeral (Pukumani) poles; bird carvings; bark baskets (tungas); ceremonial ornaments and jewellery; and silk-screened fabrics. … Heide Smith was captivated by the Tiwi when she first met them in 1987. She spent several seasons on Bathurst and Melville islands, hunting, fishing and living as the Tiwi do. The result of her affectionate association is a lavish portrait of a fascinating and little-known people.” – book jacket.