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Artist Profile: Eddie Blitner
The story of Mimi’s and Creatures of the Dreamtime:
The Dreamtime relates to the period when the earth was just being formed, and Ancestral Beings walked among Aborigines, teaching them law and ceremony and the discipline which was to rule their lives. They could change their shape and become different creatures or metamorphose into rocks or hills. All these creatures are subjects of song and dance cycles in the mardayin ceremony, the most important being the Rainbow Serpent, goanna and crocodile. Water goanna urinated over arid parts of Western Arnhem Land and created billabongs so that Aborigines could always have water to drink. Ngalyod, the Rainbow Serpent has both powers of creation and destruction, most strongly associated with rain, monsoon seasons and the rainbows which arc across the sky like a giant serpent, he is the controller of the Wet and the Dry seasons. He is responsible for the production of water plants and the cabbage tree palms, his favourite food. Ngalyod had the tail of a serpent but could assume at will the face and body of a crocodile or a kangaroo instead of a serpent’s head.
Mimi Spirits are the tiny, match-thin spirits, which live in the escarpments of the Stone Country. In the Dreamtime they taught many skills, including hunting, weaving, fishing, painting on rock and on bark, ceremonial songs and dances to old medicine men (marrkidjbu), who in turn passed their knowledge on to the elders of the tribe so that they could teach other chosen men. Being so shy they hide within huge boulders all day long, and only come out at night then at dawn they go back into their homes and pull the rock doors shut after them. Although Ngalyod, the Rainbow Serpent is generally feared throughout the Stone Country, he is a friend and protector of the Mimi’s A large male kangaroo called Nadulmi created and performed a sacred ritual called the Ubar Ceremony. The ceremony was begun by the women, with Karurrken the female kangaroo as the ritual caller and her women doing the singing and dancing. At that time women had the most power spiritually. After a time, the men became very disgruntled and told Kolobbarr that they should be the most important ones, so Kolobbarr went up to the ceremonial ground and told Karurrken that the voices of herself and her women were not strong enough and the roles were to be reversed. Although unhappy with this, Karurrken consoled her women by telling them that they had one supreme advantage over the men – women were the only ones who could bear children and were therefore more important than men.
In the mardayin ceremony, Water Goanna is the most important song and dance cycle of the dua moiety. A huge wooden replica of the creature is carried into the dance ground on the shoulders of dua dancers as other dua dancers crouch down and imitate the walking and running actions of goannas. At the same time a number of yirri1ja dancers, whose most important totem is Crocodile Ancestor, carry in a wooden replica of the reptile on their shoulders, while other yirri1ja dancers perform the actions of crocodiles crawling across dry land. This concludes the ceremony.
In this painting Eddie has depicted q number of Mimi Spirits and their pets including two rainbow serpents, two kangaroos a water goanna,
water python snake a ring tail possum, a long neck turtle, an echidna, as well assome butterflies and dragon flies. Also shown are two birds, a
spoonbill and a brolga, and a water goanna and a number of fish swimming amongst the water lilies in the billabong.
C/No: 15449 97cm x 104cm Acrylic on Linen
AUD $ 1,800.00
1 in stock
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