Tunga Bark Painting by Rhonda Henry


In stock

Tungas, a type of artwork created on bark, undergo a meticulous process of harvesting and preparation. Collected during the wet season, the bark is softened for removal. To preserve the tree, a straight line is axed at the top and bottom, with 3/4 of the bark carefully taken off. While still wet, artists shape the bark by heating it over a flame, sewing bush string/bark around the edges, and inserting a stick in the middle to maintain its form. Once dried, the Tungas are sanded and painted based on the artist’s vision.

Originating from the Tiwi Islands, Tungas serve practical purposes similar to dilly bags in the Arnhem Land/Kakadu region, used for hunting and ceremonies. They hold deep cultural significance, often placed near memorials or burials as a symbol of strength. During ceremonies for someone’s passing, Tungas are positioned on top of Pukumani poles.

Earth pigment and acrylic on stringybark

33 x 31cm

Marrawuddi is based in Jabiru, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.