Maningrida Arts and Culture

Jima Jima (waterlily) by Tommy Steele and Tony Steel Gondorra

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Jimi jima is one of Tommy Gondorra Steele’s personal dreamings. It is similar to what is commonly known as a waterlily (monochoria australasica). Jimi jima is mainly associated with a waterhole named Yalija, but also other sacred waterholes in the Wurdeja area. Tommy’s painting of jima jima depicts the lily as it exists naturally in wet water areas at Wurdeja. They have an edible root, which is brownish and bitter when raw, but once roasted on coals it is deliciously sweet. They are only found in sacred waterholes in the Wurdeja area, including Yalija, and humans and spirits live off them. They are a bright blue flowering plant.  

Tommy Gondorra Steele is the last male member of the Garnawula Niya clan. He lives at Wurdeja outstation, about four kilometres east of the Blyth River. He is the traditional owner of that area. Wurdeja is surrounded by a series of sacred waterholes and it is these waterholes, which provide the subject matter for Steele’s art. 

Title: Jima Jima (waterlily)
Artists: Tommy Steele and Tony Steel Gondorra
Medium: Stringybark (Eucalyptus Tetradonta) with Ochre Pigment and PVA Fixative
Dimensions (cm): 159 x 60cm
Catalogue Number: 838-14


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