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Article: Mainie: Much more than just beautiful fashion scarves

silk scarves, aboriginal art, ethical brand, australia, sustainable fashion
aboriginal art

Mainie: Much more than just beautiful fashion scarves

Every Mainie silk scarf brings to life the world’s oldest living culture.   

Mainie is founded on a commitment to support Aboriginal women artists living in remote desert communities in Central Australia.

Through our creative collaborations with Aboriginal art centres, Mainie provides opportunities for women artists to earn an independent income from their own work and to preserve their unique 60,000-year-old cultural heritage for future generations.

The authentic Aboriginal artwork designs featured in the Mainie Silk Scarf Collection are ethically acquired under licence from the world acclaimed Warlukurlangu art centre.

Established in 1987 in the former mission community of Yuendumu, around 300 kilometres north west of Alice Springs, Warlukurlangu has long been an important stronghold for the preservation of the culture and language of the Warlpiri Aboriginal people.  

Due to the isolation of their tribal territories in the Tanami Desert, the Warlpiri were among some of the last Aboriginal people in Australia to make their first contact with Europeans.

Today, the Warlpiri people continue to live much as their ancestors did before the arrival of the first British colonists in Australia in the latter part of the eighteenth century.

The Warlpiri maintain their traditional culture, speak their own language, and still have a strong physical and spiritual bond to their homelands.

The Dreaming stories depicted in their paintings are as old as time itself and keep alive the Warlpiri culture for successive generations.

The Mainie Silk Scarf Collection features artwork designs by four traditional Warlpiri women artists:

 - Rosina Napurrurla White

 - Bessie Nakamarra Sims

 - Geraldine Napangardi Granites

 - Christine Nakamarra Curtis


aboriginal artist Artist: Rosina Napurrurla White

Original Artwork: Ngapa Jukurrpa – Mikanji (Desert Country Dreaming)

Rosina Napurrurla White is a Warlpiri Aboriginal artist whose paintings depict traditional Dreaming stories that have been handed down to her through many generations of her ancestors.

The place depicted in Rosina’s Desert Country Dreaming design is called Mikanji. It is an important watercourse located on the homelands of the Warlpiri Aboriginal people.  

The watercourse at Mikanji is usually a dry creek bed but after the annual rains, soakages are formed deep under the ground. 

Rain is a rare event in the arid desert country and permanent fresh water sources on the Warlpiri homelands are scarce.

The soakages that form in creek beds after the rain are like subterranean wells. They provide a natural rainwater storage system and are a vital source of drinking water for the Warlpiri people during the long dry season.

Water is the essence of all life to the desert dwelling Warlpiri people. Knowing where to find water is essential to their survival in the harsh desert environment.

The coming of the rain season is a significant theme of many traditional Warlpiri ceremonies and stories.

Ngapa means water in the Warlpiri language.

In the Mainie Silk Scarf Collection, Rosina’s original painting, Ngapa Jukurrpa, is brought to life as our exquisite Desert Country Dreaming design. 

 traditional aboriginal artist

Artist: Bessie Nakamarra Sims

Original Artwork: Ngapa Jukurrpa (Desert Rain Dreaming)

Bessie Nakamarra Sims was born in the bush in the 1930s. She lived for many years on her Warlpiri homelands before first coming into contact with white people at Mount Doreen Station, west of Yuendumu. 

Bessie was the wife of Paddy Japaljarri Sims, a renowned artist both nationally and internationally.

Bessie and Paddy were among the founding artists with the world acclaimed Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation when it was first established in 1987.

Paddy passed away in 2010. 

Bessie and Paddy had seven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Bessie was one of the most valued members of the Warlukurlangu artists community. She painted consistently with Warlukurlangu and exhibited both nationally and internationally in group exhibitions.

Bessie often painted the Ngapa Jukurrpa, a traditional Warlpiri Water Dreaming story. The story tells of how smoke from a campfire formed a large storm cloud. A bird picked up the cloud and carried it over the desert country where it fell to the parched earth as rain.

Bessie passed away in Yuendumu in May 2012 surrounded by her extended family. Among of her last words were, "Japaljarri (my husband) is calling me, he is waiting for me."

Under the terms of the Mainie art licensing agreement with the Warlukulangu art centre, the royalties from the sales of Bessie’s designs continue to be paid to her family.

In the Mainie collection, Bessie’s original painting, Ngapa Jukurrpa, is brought to life as our exquisite Desert Rain Dreaming silk scarf. 

 traditional Warlpiri Aboriginal artist

Artist: Geraldine Napangardi Granites

Original Artwork: Mina Mina Jukurrpa (Medicine Tree Dreaming)

Geraldine Napangardi Granites was born in Yuendumu and has lived there all her life. Geraldine is the daughter of a well-known Warlpiri Aboriginal artist, the late Alma Nungarrayi Granites and the granddaughter of the late Bessie Nakamarra Sims.  

Geraldine has four children, two sons and two daughters. She is a shy person who is very involved with her large extended family and enjoys being around children and helping the family’s grandchildren. 

Geraldine paints with the Warlukurlangu art centre and has gained a reputation as an highly talented artist who has developed a unique, modern interpretation of her traditional Warlpiri culture.

Geraldine paints the Mina Mina Dreaming, a story that has been passed down to her through many generations of her Warlpiri ancestors over the millennia.

The Mina Mina Dreaming is an important woman’s story.  It describes how the Warlpiri women journey into the desert country to gather a tree vine called Ngalyipi.

The rope-like Ngalyipi vine has many practical purposes in everyday Warlpiri life but it is also used by the women for their sacred ceremonies. The Ngalyipi vine is highly prized by the Warlpiri women for its healing properties.

In the Mainie collection, Geraldine’s original painting, Mina Mina Jukurrpa, is brought to life as our colourful Medicine Tree Dreaming silk scarf. 

 traditional warlpiri aboriginal artist nakamarra

Artist: Christine Nakamarra Curtis

Original Artwork: Ngapa Jukurrpa (Storm Cloud Dreaming)

Christine Nakamarra Curtis was born into a family of artists, which includes Kelly Napanangka Michaels, her mother, Roy Jupurrurla Curtis, her father and Alice Nampijinpa Henwood Michaels, her Aunty.

Christine is the eldest of seven sisters and spent most of her childhood at Nyirripi, a remote Aboriginal outstation community located 150 kilometres north-west of Yuendumu.

Christine attended her local school, then Yirara College, an Aboriginal boarding school in Alice Springs. Christine continued her studies at Kormilda College, an Aboriginal college in Darwin.

When she finished her schooling, Christine returned to Nyirripi where she worked in the community store.

I love the place. I grew up here – learning from the old people.”

Christine began painting with the Warlukurlangu Artists in 2007 and paints her grandparent’s Dreaming on her mother’s side.

“I like the patterns and all those colours, and the stories. Watching family painting, they show you the Dreaming.”

Christine has two sons who attend the local school in Nyirripi. When Christine is not painting, she likes to take her sons hunting for bush tucker and goanna.

In the Mainie collection, Christine’s original painting, Ngapa Jukurrpa, is brought to life as our beautiful Storm Cloud Dreaming silk scarf. 

indigenous art code, indigenous business, supply nation 

Proudly Australian owned and operated, Mainie is a Supply Nation verified Indigenous owned business and an Indigenous Art Code approved dealer member.

Every Mainie we make gives back to the Aboriginal woman artist who created the original design, to elevate and empower her, her family and her community.

For more information, please visit our website at:


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