Aboriginal Fine Arts Gallery
has a range of Mimi Spirit carvings
including Ivan Namarrikki, husband and wife team
James Iyuna and Melba Gunjarrwanga
(Central Arnhemland. NT)
Natural opchres on carved wood

Aboriginal Mimi Spirit Poles

Mimis are the tiny, match-thin spirits, which Aborigines believe have lived in the escarpments of the Stone Country, (stretching for a distance of about 300 miles between Oenpelli and Maningrida), since the beginning of time, and are still living there today.

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. Without a written language, painting was the only way in which the history and religion of the tribe could be passed down, thereby ensuring that future generations would know of the deeds of the Ancestral Beings who walked the earth in the beginning of time.

Mimis are so shy that they hide within huge boulders all day long, and only come out at night by blowing holes in the rocks and emerging with their weapons and pets - goannas, lizards, echidnas, rock wallabies and small rock pythons which live in the rocks with them The only time they really get angry is when an intruder kills or injures one of their pets. They are not against any other of these species being killed for food, but they become extremely upset if one of their own pets is harmed. All night long the Mimis hunt and fish, make love and hold ceremonies, then at dawn they go back into their homes and pull the rock doors shut after them. Aborigines respect the wishes of Mimi Spirits to have complete privacy, and are careful to stay well away from the escarpments at night.