Mimih Spirit Hunting Crocodile
Ochre on Aches Paper
102cm x 76cm
Glen has painted a Mimih spirit hunting a Kinga (Estuarine Crocodile). Mimihs live in rocks, trees and caves and are the original spirit beings who taught Aboriginal people many of the skills they needed to survive in the bush along with ceremonies, dance and song. The crocodile is swimming in the billabong, which has been rendered with iridescent rarrk (cross hatching) representing the reflections of sunlight on rippling water. Animals such as file snakes, egrets and fish are shown living in the billabong and have been depicted from different perspectives.
Rarrk is a painting technique used throughout Arnhem Land, the patterns are not just an aesthetic method of representation, but also encode knowledge. Glen Namundja shares this knowledge of his clan estate through his paintings as a way of stimulating storytelling. There are ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ ways of describing and understanding paintings, and West Arnhem Land paintings can speak to Kunwinjku people who have passed through ceremony in ways that uninitiated people will not be privy to. From outside the Kunwinjku perspective the painting dazzles the viewer with Glen’s knowledge about the anatomy and spiritual identity of animals and the powerful life forces that enmesh us together.