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Jimmy Nimitjuma

DOB: 1947

BORN: Mumeka, Western Arnhem Land
Kuninjku, Arnhem region
COUNTRY: Kurrurdul


Jimmy Nimitjuma (Njiminjuma) (1947–2004) is one of the most renowned artists from the western Arnhem Land region. For many years he lived with his father, Anchor Kulunba, at Mumeka outstation. Njiminjuma said that his father and his uncle Peter Marralwanga showed him how to paint. In the 1980s, Njiminjuma took a strong role in teaching his younger brother John Mawurndjul the art of bark painting. Njiminjuma later established an outstation at Kurrurldul on Mimarlar Creek, a tributary of the Tomkinson River, south of Maningrida.


Part of the creativity in Njiminjuma’s painting is evident in his ability to construct complex figures that merge with the geometric background designs. These designs have their basis in the body paintings of the Mardayin ceremony, in which the participants are marked with images of the landscape that is their birth heritage. In bark paintings, the incorporation of geometric designs and figurative elements reveals Kuninjku beliefs in how certain landscape forms were moulded by the creative actions of ancestral beings. The ancestral beings entered the earth at these special places and exist there still as an animating life force.

Source: Tradition today: Indigenous art in Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

Jimmy Nimitjuma painting

Title: Rainbow Serpent Dreaming

Artist: Jimmy Nimitjuma

Natural ochres on Arches paper

Painted: 1995

Size: 57cm x 38cm approximately

Catalogue number: Uncatalogued

Price: $5,000.00

Provenance: Arnhemland Art Gallery > Private Collection

Location: Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

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