Jimbala & Kumerra (spear heads & cicatrix)

Lena NYADBI: artist

Not On Display

About the work

This painting depicts Kumerra (cicatrices) and jimbala (spearheads). Cicatrices are body markings that were cut into the arms, chests and shoulders of teenage boys and girls as part of initiation. The cuts were made with stone jimbala and later with glass sharpened into jimbala. Nyadbi does not bear any kumerra, as she grew up at the homestead on Lissadell Station, where this practice was not allowed. Jimbala country lies north of Warmun; this is her father’s Country, sharp and stony. People used to wrap their feet in calico when hunting kangaroo in the hills to stop the stones cutting their feet. The artist generally paints the same subject matter, which relates to her connection with traditional lands and the dislocation of cultural practices. Nyadbi uses natural pigment – ‘bush paints’ – as opposed to kardiya or whitefella paints, which is a strong statement about collecting materials from her country in order to document it (Kimberley in Croft Beyond the Pale, p. 62)
Jimbala & Kumerra (spear heads & cicatrix)
Artist/Maker and role
Lena NYADBI: artist
natural pigments on linen
two parts, 140.0 x 100.0 cm (each)
Credit line
Purchased 2000
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.