Born in 1962, Maria Josette Orsto was the first female Tiwi artist to become an official member of Tiwi Design, one of the oldest Aboriginal art centres in Australia. She is the daughter of
renowned Tiwi artists Declan Apuatimi and Jean Baptiste Apuatimi. She works across a range of media including ochre and acrylic on canvas and paper, printmaking, batik and wood sculpture.
Orsto has exhibited widely since holding her first solo exhibition at AGOG Gallery, Canberra in 1990.
Maria divides her time between Pularumpi, Melville Island and Bathurst Island.
Her Country is Imalu (Melville Island).
Maria paints on canvas with ochre and produces carvings and fiber.
the ochre used in these paintings is collected by the men in the area and prepared with PVC before application on the canvas. Maria still uses a hardwood, handmade comb to paint her intricate lines. The comb is sawn and sanded until it has very fine points. This technique was used prior to the more recent art movement to apply body paint for ceremonies.
The colours of the ochre used is also significant as it is used to denote family members that have passed.