Thommo has painted a Mimih spirit holding his djerrh (dilly bag) and mankole (spears). According to the Kunwinjku people of western Arnhem Land, Mimihs were the original spirit beings and taught Aboriginal people many of the skills they needed to survive in the bush along with ceremonies, dance and song. These spirits continue to live in rocks, trees and caves but are rarely seen by humans. They are frequently seen in the rock art of Arnhem Land as small, dynamic figures. They are usually shown with hunting weapons such as spears, woomeras, stone axes and digging sticks. Also often depicted are some of the spoils of the day - kangaroo, file snake, long yams, cheeky yams, and bush potato.
A note on bark paintings:
Paintings on bark have a beautifully organic, almost sculptural appeal. Kunwinjku artists have been painting in this medium for thousands of years as a method of continuing their rock art tradition onto the walls of wet season bark shelters and now as collectable pieces of art. Bark paintings from Gunbalanya/Oenpelli and surrounding areas have been collected and exhibited by museums and art galleries all over the world.
This bark has been expertly cured over open fire and left under weights to dry. It is natural for bark to have a small amount of movement depending on weather conditions and this is part of the charm and appeal of this medium. The bracing frame included with each bark allows for this movement.
To look after your bark painting we suggest keeping it in away from sudden fluctuations in temperature or humidity (i.e. next to heaters or air conditioners) and displaying it in a well ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
Ochre on Stringy bark
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