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Jimmy Njiminjuma

Namarrkon the Lightning Spirit - 1994

natural earth pigments on Eucalyptus bark
66.5 x 55.0 cm
Price Realised: $1,830.00

MP #348


Maningrida Arts and Culture, NT Cat No. 065/94
Private Collection, NSW


accompanied by a Maningrida Arts and Culture certificate of authenticity

Jimmy Njiminjuma lived with his father Anchor Galuma, at Mumeka outstation during his youth. He was taught to paint in a traditional style by his father and uncle, Peter Marralwanga, both renowned cave and bark painters. During the 1980s, Njiminjuma took a primary role in teaching his younger brother John Mawurndjurl the art of bark painting.


In the Kuninjku tradition of Western Arnhem Land, Namarnkon - The Lightning Spirit is painted on cave walls and on bark in the form of a Ngaldjurr - Leichardt's grasshopper (which it is said to have made). The species emerges, mates and is most active and visible between October and December when there are intense electrical storms. Ngaldjurr is then said to be looking for Namarnkon which strikes out with the stone axes that protrude from its joints. The lines circling Namarnkon link his head to his loins and are said to be lightning bolts.

The Liverpool River is a Dreaming site for the Lightning Spirit. In Kuninjuku mythology, a lightning man created a huge storm that threatened the lives of humans. A lightning woman, his classificatory 'cousin', grabbed him to calm him down. Their relationship was one of strict avoidance, and he immediately withdrew into silence and allowed the humans to live. So it is today when a man is fighting. He will become quiet if his cousin tries to restrain him.