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Paddy Japaljarri Sims

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“To draw, you must close your eyes and sing”  ― Pablo Picasso


Paddy Japaljarri Sims has an amazing personal story that was chronicled in the 2006 documentary, Singing the Milky Way. He was born into a traditional nomadic hunter-gatherer culture in depths of central Australian desert and did not encounter people from the outside world until he was in his early twenties. 


Singing the Milky Way, (2006) is a 60 minute documentary following 90 year old Australian Aboriginal elder and acclaimed fine artist, Paddy Japaljarri Sims, his fellow artists, family and friends, on a series of emotional journeys ‘out bush’ to reconnect with their hunter-gatherer roots and the wellspring of their artistic inspiration. Their journey sparks the creation of a collaborative painting rooted in the creation mythologies or Dreamings of Sim’s ancestral homelands — a cycle of stories concerning the stars of the Milky Way. The film illuminates the cultural imperatives behind Aboriginal painting, revealing that for Aboriginal elders a painting is not merely an object of aesthetic beauty, it’s a cultural document signifying much, much more: a ritual template, a map, a deed, an assertion of land rights, a record of a vanishing way of life, a means of keeping that past alive and insuring cultural survival, and a new way of handing down age old traditions to future generations. 


The film debuted at The Museum of Aboriginal Art, Utrecht and toured Holland and Germany as an integral part of the retrospective Opening Doors. The film also was also featured in exhibitions in Lausanne and Berlin and at The Holter Museum of Art in 2007 as part of the exhibition Desert Dreamscapes.   


Despite having made art for ceremonial purposes all of is adult life, Paddy did not begin his fine art career until he was in his 70's. His paintings are based on ceremonial art designs which represent "Dreamings" or creation mythologies of which he is the custodian.


Below is a clip from the film, Singing the Milky Way:




All Work by Paddy Japaljarri Sims

  • Eagle Dreaming

    Eagle Dreaming

  • Fire Dreaming

    Fire Dreaming

  • Milky Way Dreaming

    Milky Way Dreaming

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