Tiwi Art by Lulu began collaborating with Starwin Collective in 2021. Founder, Jennifer 'Lulu' Coombes is a Tiwi woman, living and working on Larrakia Country. Artistic talent runs in the family, with her sister, Debbie Coombes being the illustrator of the book 'Going to the Footy' we launched at our Darwin shop in 2019.
Lulu shares her story for creating change with us...
How would you describe ways that you give back / pay it forward in our community?
I would like to keep my culture strong so that future generations can learn, so our culture goes on forever and doesn’t die out. I strongly value being Tiwi and the culture that it brings with it. I would like to see Tiwi culture stay strong so that future generations may be empowered by it.
What is your one-of-a-kindness story?
Lulu creates art in the Tiwi traditional style. She developed her artistic skills and cultural knowledge by watching and listening to “the old people” – her mother, aunties, uncles, and grandparents. Their main craft was the Pukumani pole, which is a ceremonial burial pole, spears and bark paintings, among other Tiwi art forms. Lulu started out at Munupi Arts where she completed “on the job” training as a book keeper/administratior, Lulu was the secretary of the Munupi Executive Committee for many years where she also paints, screen printing, linoprints and pottery which is a well-known Aboriginal art enterprise today.
She is currently employed as Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation’s Senior Finance Officer, however, spends her spare time creating art for local and national projects. More recently Lulu designed Hawthorn Football Club’s Indigenous Guernsey for the 2018/2019 AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
The design features two prominent aspects of the Tiwi culture, Pukumani Poles and the Kulama ceremony, designed AFNT staff uniforms & St Marys Football club first ever Indigenous jumper. Lulu has donated a Indigenous handpainted designed footy to the GO Foundation for their annual Lunch fundraiser in last 2 years.