Mario Munkara

Date of Birth: 24 February 1967

Mario Munkara is a well-known visual artist from Nguiu Art Centre on Bathurst Island, one of the Tiwi Islands located in the Arafura sea about 80 Km North of Darwin. Painting totem designs are important to Tiwi people with each skin group having its own set of designs painted onto their sculptures. The Tiwi people have occupied the islands for at least 10,000 years and have their own unique language and culture, including dance, song and art. Mario has had several museum and gallery exhibitions for his highly sought-after sculptures.

Bird carvings have ceremonial meaning to the Tiwi People and are considered to bring knowledge from the spirit world. The carvings were often used on ceremonial poles to honour the dead during funeral rituals. The Owl Totem is considered a guardian to Aboriginal People and a totem for Aboriginal Women. Owls are nocturnal birds of prey symbolising the power of the night, mystery and wisdom.

His carvings are made from a local timber and hand painted using traditional ochres from the earth.