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Garry Djorlom / Mimi Spirits (2A)

77cm x 57cm Ochre on Arches Paper

SKU: CH33

$1,500.00

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SKU: CH33 Category:

DOB: 1963
Tribe: Kunwinjku
Region: Western Arnhem Land
Community: Gunbalanya [Oenpelli]
Outstation: Gumarrirnbang, Marrkolidjban
Language: Kunwinjku
Social Affiliation: Dhuwa moiety, Nabangardi subsection

Garry is the son of Dudley Djorlom, a traditional bark painter who taught his son to paint on rock and on bark. He had a very good schooling in his youth, and took his promised wife, Doreen, when she was still in her early teens. As the son of a ceremonial leader he learnt the traditional way of life, and is an excellent hunter and food gatherer. He has appeared in several documentaries depicting both his talent as an artist, a dancer, and a hunter in the old way, using four-pronged fishing spears, and digging sticks for yams.

Garry has achieved fame as a master painter on bark and on Arches Rives paper. He lives at a remote outstation called Gumarrirnbang, in the Stone Country between Oenpelli and Ramingining. This homeland centre is owned by an old man called Timothy Nadjowh who was a great artist but is now too old to paint. He is worried that without sons to carry on recording the history and religion of his tribe the stories will be lost forever. He has therefore decided to gradually pass on his myths to Garry whom he considers to be a man of stature and worthy of keeping them safe.

Garry has painted “Dit the Moon Man”, the first story Timothy has given to him, and it was entered in the 1998 National Indigenous Heritage Art Awards held in Canberra, this painting went on to receive a highly commended award. He has also had exhibitions in Perth and Melbourne. It is only a matter of time before Garry becomes world famous. John Kluge, the wealthy collector who has built an art gallery purely for Australian Aboriginal works in Virginia, U.S.A., bought several of Garry’s paintings which have been illustrated in the book entitled: “Kunwinjku Art, the John W. Kluge Commission”.

Awards
1998
Highly Commended, Australian Heritage Commission Art Award, Old Parliament House Canberra

Collections
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia

Bibliographies
Museum Arts International P/L, North Adelaide.
1994, Kunwinjku Art from Injalak, 91– 92, John W. Kluge

An unbroken line of escarpments, known as the Stone Country, stretches for about 300 miles from Kakadu to Maningrida. Aborigines believe that the original inhabitants of this area were the Mimis, tall matchstick-thin spirits, and that they still live there today.

In the Dreamtime they taught the old medicine men (marrkidjbu) many skills, including hunting, fishing, ceremonial songs and dances and painting with ochres and clay on rock and on bark. Without a written language, painting and ceremony were the only ways in which the history and religion of the tribe could be passed down, thereby ensuring that future generations would know of the deeds of the Ancestral Beings who walked the earth in the beginning of time. The medicine men handed down their knowledge to tribal leaders so that they could instruct other members.

Mimis live during the daytime within huge boulders, because they are very shy and also have such thin necks that a strong breeze might break them. They come out at night by blowing holes in the rocks and emerging with their weapons and pets – goannas, lizards, echidnas, small rock wallabies and pythons, to name a few, who live in the rocks with them. The only time they really get angry is when someone kills or injures one of their pets. They are not against others of these species being killed for food, but they become extremely upset if their own pets are harmed. All night long the Mimis hunt and fish and hold ceremonies, then at dawn they go back into their homes and pull the rock doors shut after them. Aborigines respect the wishes of Mimi Spirits to have complete privacy, and are careful to stay well away from the escarpments at night.

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