Eddie Aning-Mirra Carey Manayangkarirra, Maningrida, Northern Territory, Australia, b. 1971
Eddie Aning-Mirra Carey, born in 1971, lives and works around the Maningrida community in Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. His work has been shown in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Carey specialises in carving the Mimih spirit, which is used in ceremony. Mimih spirit exists in a realm that runs parallel to and mirrors many facets of human life, demonstrating the deep sense of time and place understood by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Such spirits are important in relation to Aboriginal spirituality, cosmology, social and moral tales, and rituals. As is true with the multiple mediums employed by artists of West Arnhem Land, the development of artistic style and form is in line with the awareness by the artist that the work produced is predominantly made for a broader audience. Whether shown in a national or international context, these works communicate and exist in a particular space that is cross-cultural and simultaneously so particular to the Arnhem region.
The Mimih sits within a complex and essential pedagogical and religious body of knowledge which links Kuninjku people to their distinctive escarpment homelands. Young Kuninjku artists, or apprentices, employ the Mimih as an important exercise for practising the "rarrk" technique. It is achieved on a smaller surface area before being attempted on larger scale pieces of bark. The Mimih serves a purpose for those young artists first learning to carve in a social space of sharing and innovating. The initial Mimih manifestation was a large form that almost mirrored the anatomy of a human. At this stage, the sculptures are likened to morkuy carvings visible in Eastern Arnhem Land. Contemporaneously, Mimih are depicted in a refined, slender, even emaciated form with a broad range of facial expressions giving both individual character and denoting the potential volatility and humour that Mimih spirits are notable for in their interaction with "bininj" (humans). The sculptures are frequently carved from the thin trunks of softwoods such as kapok (bombax ceiba or cottonwood) kurrajong, beach hibiscus or leichardt and are painted with earth pigments for their colouring and design.