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THE BLOCK 2019 - Artist Spotlight

Posted on September 30 2019

We get to know mother and daughter artists Lauren Jarrett and Melissa Greenwood, the women behind Deb and Andy’s stunning Indigenous artwork in their living area… 

How long have you been producing your art?
Mum (Lauren), one half of Miimi + Jiinda has been painting for most her life, and I’ve dabbled in art most of my life alongside mum, but I only really got serious about it four years ago. And I haven’t stopped painting since! 

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Lauren: From our tribal lands and ancestral teachings passed down from grandmothers passed.
Melissa: From our strong line of matriarchs, my mothers and Grandmothers’ stories, our beautiful Gumbayngirr country and my life today as a modern-day Indigenous woman.

How long does it take you to create a piece? 
It depends on the size and content - it could be one week, or on the very large scale up to a couple of months. Sometimes we have 3-4 paintings going at the same time, to keep the inspiration flowing.

How would you describe your art? 
It’s a symbolic portrayal of our interpretation of our Dreaming stories, and inspiration from nature. We paint with acrylics and in pastels, influenced by our feminine matriarchal line.

How would you describe your personal aesthetic?
Earthy, natural, minimal. We are inspired by the beauty and texture of our traditional homelands - I love anything that is bright and bold that lightens up the senses.

How do you come up with a name for your artwork?
We use our beautiful Gumbayngirr language -  it inspires all of our work.

How did your involvement in The Block come about?
Our artwork is featured in Deb and Andy’s living room - they contacted us through Instagram and asked for a commissioned painting. Andy is Biripi, and was in search of some Aboriginal art - we are Gumbayngirr, just a couple of hours from the Biripi Nation! 

How did you feel when they reached out?
We were beyond excited and honoured to create this piece for Deb and Andy, and for it to be seen on Channel 9 for the rest of Australia to see! We hope that this encourages more First Nations art to be seen on The Block, showcasing our rich and beautiful culture. It’s truly an amazing feeling for our artwork/culture to be chosen, recognised and appreciated.

Are there any particular artists that inspire you?
Albert Namatjira.

Where do you like to create your art?
Nothing better than painting Country, on Country

Do you have a soundtrack you like to create to?
Xavier Rudd, Ben Howard, Vance Joy, Ziggy Alberts, Nora Jones and Baker Boy!

What does a typical day look like for you?
No day is really the same in the Miimi + Jiinda studio - each day can vary so much! Some days we paint all day long and the room is covered in paintbrushes, paint, paint pens, wooden sticks and canvases… and some days are filled with office work, answering enquiries, shopping for supplies and sending orders. And some are spent walking on Country, collecting natural fibres for weaving and being inspired for our next painting.

How do you fit your art around life/kids?/work? Any tips?
Getting kids involved in art and creating helps - they can be entertained for hours, and you can share in the fun and creativity.

Source: The Block Shop