WILHELMENA PURUNTATAMERI

WILHELMENA PURUNTATAMERI
Date of Birth: 26/06/1953
Mother's Country: Munupi, Melville Island
Father's Country: Munupi, Melville Island
Dreaming: Kirilima (Jungle Fowl)

Wilhelmena Puruntatameri was born in the bush, a ‘bush baby’ as she puts it and grew up with her family on Bathurst Island.”We used to do a lot of things when we were kids. Going hunting with Dad in the canoe. Paddle, paddle. No motor then in those days. We used to go with him. We’d be there with him. Dad up the font and us at the back paddling. Especially at night time for spear fishing when it was easier. Dad used to stand up front  with his spear in one hand and a flaming torch of bark in his other hand lighting the way  so he could see the fish move. He was a good hunter. We used to travel in that canoe all the way from Bathurst to here.  We learned a lot about our culture from my Dad and his Mother and sisters, my grandmother and aunties.”When Wilhelmena was 13 years old the Nun’s came told her family that she must schooling at the convent at Bathurst. She lived in the convent with the nuns and has many stories remembering their strict discipline.“The government moved us here to Garden Point in 1973 and we are here now today. They said “You’ve got to go back to your country and live there”After returning to her families country Wilhelmena’s father Justin Puruntatameri again brought out expression of her traditional Tiwi culture and she keeps this memory alive today as she paints at Munupi Arts.“I never painted in my life but my Dad, Justin Puruntatameri, he made all my family come to Munupi Arts and learn. Me, Carol, Jedda, Florence ,Francesca, Alberta, Debbie, He told all his daughters and grandchildren “You mob gotta come up and do painting”.

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