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Jimmy Mijau Mijau

Mimih Dancers - c.1965

natural earth pigments on bark
64 x 25 cm
Price Realised: $3,172.00

MP #656


Collected at Minjilang, Croker Island, Western Arnhem Land, NT
Aboriginal and Pacific Art Gallery, NSW
Private Collection, NSW

Original text on the back of the artwork

64 x 25 (bark size)
91 x 47 cm (frame)

From the 1940s onward, Jimmy Mijau Mijau lived amongst the group of artists on Minjilang (Croker Island) in Western Arnhem Land. The group included Samuel Wagbara, David Yirawala, Paddy Compass Namatbara, and January Nangunyari Namiridali. Mijau Mijau, in particular, assisted the eminent anthropologists Ronald and Catherine Berndt, for whom he produced paintings as well as moulded clay figures. He exhibited his work for the first time in 1957, as part of the exhibition Australian Aboriginal Art, Arnhem Land Paintings on Bark and Carved Human Figures, at the Western Australian Museum, Perth, curated by the Berndts. Other prominent collectors of his work were Karel Kupka and Edward L. Ruhe. The artist is represented in most major public collections in Australia, including the National Gallery of Australia, as well as several overseas museums including the Musee du quai Branly in Paris.

Mijau Mijau created bark paintings throughout the 1950s and 1960s, in a style which had persisted as cave art for centuries without change. Only a handful of artists, all old men, kept this art form alive at the time. In this work, Mijau Mijau has depicted Epadabat, little spirit people about eighteen inches (45 cms) high. They are rarely seen but can be heard singing in the swamps on moonlit nights.