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Ivan Namirrikki / Mimi Spirit


62cm x 41cm Ochre on Arches Paper

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62cm x 41cm Ochre on Arches Paper


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Ochre / Kimberley artworks are shipped on canvas or linen, already stretched, ready to hang unless stated otherwise.

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Artist Profile

Born: 1961
Community Centre: Maningrida, Central Arnhem Land
Outstation or Country: Marrkolidjban
Language: Eastern Kunwinjku
Local Group (clan): Kardbam clan
Social Affiliations: Yirridjdja moiety, Bulanj subsection
Subjects: Ngalyod – Rainbow Serpent, Ngurrurdu – Emu, Yawkyawk spirit, Mimih spirit, Nayuhyungki bininj – Ancient People, Namorrorddo spirit; Kuninjku ancestral stories


Ivan is the eldest son of the late Peter Maralwanga, famous bark painter, whose works hang in major art galleries and museums. An entire exhibition of Peter’s work, held in Perth some years ago, was purchased by the late private collector Robert Holmes a’ Court. Maralwanga taught both Ivan Namirriki and his four nephews to paint when the family lived at an isolated outstation called Marrkolidjpan, between Oenpelli and Maningrida. Later the nephews moved further towards Maningrida, but Ivan remained as guardian of the vast traditional lands he has now inherited. He is also the ceremonial leader of his clan, and the keeper of all the myths telling of the history and religion of the Kunwinjku tribe.

Ivan has several children and when they reach young adults he will start teaching his sons how to paint on bark and on Arches Rives paper, so that the stories handed down to him by his late father will never die out. He still hunts and fishes in the traditional way, and has great obligations on him to look after all of Maralwanga’s seven wives and many children. It is incumbent on him to keep painting to supply all their needs and to keep improving his outstation. He helped his father grub out the trees by hand to form an airstrip and to erect a windmill on the banks of the freshwater creek beside his camp, and is anxious to improve the living conditions of his extended family by building houses better than the bush shanties and corrugated iron dwellings at present on the site. He does not drink liquor, and is a most conscientious and dedicated leader of his people.

Ivan is now regarded as one of the foremost artists of the Kunwinjku tribe. He has reached the level of fame accorded to his father, who painstakingly taught him how to paint the complex designs of crosshatching, (rarrk), appearing on the bodies of the creatures he depicts, using the brilliant colours which belong to the clan. The ochres are found in secret deposits in the ground, the white colour comes from a clay site in the bush, and black is charcoal from camp fires. His work is much sought after throughout the world.

Artwork Description

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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Ivan Namirrikki / Mimi Spirit (Sold)

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Gail Walls

Amazing. .wonderful paintings…love the stories told with each..beautiful works by all..look forward each day to see what is next to come…a big thank you to all for your beautiful pieces

Alli Lou

If there was an option to, I’d give a 100 star rating

Gheorghe Taralunga – Craiova


Katherine Chandler Ferguson – Fitzroy Crossing

I’ve not been able to visit for a while but love the work here! I think I’m due a trip with the boys soon!

Greg Ambrose-Pearce – Darwin

Seamless purchase great people to deal with would love to buy more!

Sue Candy

Just exquisite work, the detail, the colour and the stories. I’m in love with Artlandish Art!

Raye Stratford

Loving how Kirstie finds brilliant artists and shares not only the artwork, but the back story of both the piece AND the artist. You can tell she absolutely loves Aboriginal art, and she has such great rapport with the artists.

Mark Carroll – London

Best place to buy genuine, quality art from. On my 10th purchase and counting.

Hayley Beaver – London

Beautiful art work….. Love it!

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