Tutini are part of the traditional Pukumani (funeral) ceremony, one of two major ceremonies of great significance to the Tiwi culture. Pukumani is connected to a major ancestral story about the first death on the Tiwi Islands, where the Tiwi ancestor Purukuparli performed the first Pukumani ceremony for his baby son, Jinani. Considered the most important ceremony in a Tiwi person’s life, Pukumani is the final ritual which farewells the deceased through song and yoyi (dance) and safely sends their spirit to rest on Country. The ceremony takes place several months after burial, during which time Tutini poles are commissioned by specific family members. These are hand-carved and painted with natural ochres in significant designs to celebrate the life of the deceased, and to aid in the spirit’s journey to the afterlife.
Reference: Museum of Contemporary Art