Turtle Boat , John Patrick  Kelantumama (Yell)
  • Artist
    John Patrick Kelantumama (Yell)
  • Born
  • Title
    Turtle Boat
  • Date of Production
  • Medium
    painted earthenware
  • Dimensions
    51 x 72.5 x 35 cm
  • Credit Details
    Purchased, 2003

John Patrick Kelantumama (Yell)

Turtle Boat

A member of the Tiwi Design Studio from 1976 until its closure in 1989, Kelantumama rejoined the studio when it reopened in 1999.  One of the artists keen to reinvigorate the pottery by exploring new directions such as the creation of sculptural pieces, Kelantumama says of his art:  "I saw the old people doing their art, their designs looked great.  I was keen to learn to keep our culture going….I feel really good when doing my art".

The construction of three dimensional forms in clay, with complex designs that are derived from those used on the body during ceremonies, results in an object that is not too dissimilar from Tiwi wood carving.  Using slab and coil techniques the clay is fired and then painted.  Here the artist has created a turtle shaped boat complete with head and flippers in which three hunters are seated.  In this dynamic piece both the boat and people are painted with designs that are quite distinctive from those found on the mainland.  Hunting is an important activity and a popular subject.  The artist said of his Turtle boat that it was a "Boat for turtle hunting.  Older person teaches a young one to make harpoon and then shows him how to hunt turtle."