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Maria Josette Orsto is the daughter of Declan Apuatimi and Jean Baptiste Apuatimi. She was just six years old when the Tiwi Design art cooperative was established on the Tiwi Islands in 1968. Orsto was taught to paint and carve by her father and was the first female artist to become a formal member of the cooperative. She began by assisting her father, and she is recognised today as a versatile and prolific artist who works in a variety of media and techniques, including painting, batik-printmaking and wood sculpture.Orsto’s painting style has developed over several decades. Initially, her work reflected her father’s bold style. Recently, however, she has developed a more subtle, subdued, feminine and seductive style of painting. Small dots and lines intimately positioned across the canvas give detailed impressions of the surface of an object or the land or reference the surface of the spiritual realm. Her work alludes to the small glimpses of power, sheen and shimmer of the ancestral realm.
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