Kayimwagakimi jilamara I. Raelene Kerinauia.
Raelene Kerinauia

Kayimwagakimi jilamara I

Etching, sugarlift & aquatint

68.5 x 24.8 cm 

Numbered 39/40


Kayimwagakimi is the traditional Tiwi painting 'comb'. Made from bloodwood or ironwood, it 

is about 15cm high with a single row of teeth. The comb is dabbed in ochre and applied to 

the painting surface resulting in a straight line of fine dots, a process which is repeated 

over and over. Kayimwagakimi and marlipinyini (a fine stick  or pandanus frond chewed to 

form a brush) have largely been replaced by modern brushes but a handful of Tiwi still use 

traditional tools. (Jilamara Arts and Craft, August 2006) 


Raelene was born on 1 September, 1962, on Bathurst Island and raised by her 

grandmother. Her older brother Vivian is also a painter. Raelene began designing screens 

for fabric printing in 1985 as part of the adult education program in Milikapiti, and then took 

up painting with the establishing of Jilamara Arts and Craft in 1989. Initially, Raelene used 

brushes with ochres but since 1999 she has adopted the traditional painting technique of 

using a comb (kayimwagakini). Combs were used primarily used in the past for ceremonial 

body painting applications, and are typically made from bloodwood or ironwood. 

Raelene was inspired to incorporate the traditional technique of the kayimwagakini after 

observing Pedro Wonaeamirri using it, and viewing older pole carvings in the National 

Museum by the late Tiwi carver, Sugarbag Kapiti. The making of the comb is a skill in 

itself, and Raelene's partner James Tipiloura, a carver with Jilamara Arts and Craft, carves 

the combes for Raelene's work. 

In addition to printmaking, Raelene works with ochres on paper, bark, and canvas, and her 

work has been acquired for major public and private art collections including at the 

National Gallery of Australia. Raelene has participated in group exhibitions since 1991, 

and she has held several solo shows in Darwin and Sydney since 2004. (Jilamara Arts 

and Craft, July 2006)


Another copy of this print is available 

Item #3141


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