heide smith's portraits of the Tiwi

about Tiwi portraits: Traditional Pukumani law prohibits the mention of the name of a deceased person for a considerable period, sometimes as long as twelve months. The same taboo applies to images of a deceased person. If this law had been applied to my photographs, I would not have been able to publish “Tiwi”, or "Portrait of a People". The Tiwi Land Council agreed to drop this restriction to enable me to publish, nevertheless I always asked my sitters for permission to take their portrait. A few people declined to be photographed and that is their right. I have sent pictures to many Tiwi to keep, and I believe they are proud to have them. There are many more Tiwi portraits in "Portrait of a People", which is still available in my bookshop

To see an enlargement, and/or to purchase an image, click on a thumbnail


Viewers should be aware this site contains references to, and images of deceased people