Mario Walarmerpui

Ben Searcy2019

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery
Canberra, Australia

Mario Walarmerpui is an accomplished and innovative Tiwi carver who lives in Pirlangimpi, a remote community on Melville Island in the Northern Territory. 3000 kilometres from home, Mario has been waiting in a room – abuzz with preparations and anticipation – to stage a Pukamani Ceremony for the opening of the 2019 Tarnanthi Festival in Adelaide. Visiting Melville Island a few months earlier, I had observed the enormous power and stature that performing traditional dance gave the Tiwi Islanders I met. I wanted to capture that energy in a series of behind the scenes portraits, before and after the dance.


  • Title: Mario Walarmerpui
  • Creator: Ben Searcy
  • Date Created: 2019

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