Thommo
By Thommo Nganjmirra

Gunbalanya, NT, Australia

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DESCRIPTION

Thommo has painted a Mimih spirit hunting kunj (kangaroo). 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.

Kunwinjku art is part of the oldest continuous art tradition in the world. Ancestors of today’s artists have been painting the rock walls of West Arnhem Land for tens of thousands of years. The traditional palette of white, red, yellow and black comes from the ochre that naturally occurs in the region, although contemporary artists sometimes choose to paint in acrylics as well. Kunwinjku artists famously paint using either the traditional rarrk hatching technique, or the more contemporary and complex cross hatching technique which has been adapted from ceremonial painting. These lines are painted using a manyilk, which is a piece of sedge grass shaved down until only a few fibres remain.

Artists at Injalak Art Centre have been painting on Arches 640gsm handmade watercolour paper since it was introduced as a medium by American art collecter John W. Klunge in 1990 when he commissioned a suite of paintings for the Kluge-Ruhe Collection at the University of Virginia, USA. It is archival quality and has an organic texture that mimics the natural surface of bark, making it an excellent alternative in West Arnhem Land where trees suitable for bark harvesting are much sparser than other areas of the Top End of Australia.

This painting needs to be framed. It’s also being sent direct from the artist at a remote art centre, Injalak Arts, in the top end. Please note there is only one mail plane a week that takes the artwork to Gunbalanya. The tracking information is then received a week later when the mail plane returns so often the paintings are delivered before we receive the tracking information. Please expect a slightly longer wait for this very special artwork to arrive.

TAGS

mimih, Spirituality, spirits, hunting, traditional, contemporary, Indigenous, aboriginal, Hatching