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Meet The First Nations Artists + Mother-Daughter Duo Behind Miimi And Jiinda

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For Gumbaynggirr women and mother-daughter duo Melissa Greenwood and Lauren Jarrett, their art business and brand Miimi and Jiinda started as a passion project.

But after an outpouring of support for their deeply personal creative outlet, it’s blossomed into something bigger; championing change and telling stories through their heartfelt creations, in the hope that ‘all Australians can feel proud of our Aboriginal culture’.

The pair create contemporary Indigenous artworks, as well as woven pieces made with traditional techniques, and recently launched a clothing and homewares label, Ochre by Miimi & Jiinda!

9th March, 2022

Melissa Greenwood and Lauren Jarrett have built Miimi and Jiinda from the ground up, celebrating their Aboriginal heritage. ‘Apart from creating art and growing a fashion label, I am also a mother of two beautiful boys,’ Melissa says. Photo – Alice Payne

‘My mother taught me the techniques that she uses, and I also taught myself and discovered many new techniques along the way. I have no formal training, but I have artistry running through my ancestral bloodlines, creating is part of me and has been passed down through the generations,’ Melissa says of her mother Lauren. Photo – Alice Payne

‘For weaving, small weaving projects – like a little bracelet – could be done in a day (if materials had already been foraged), or it can take months and months to finish large projects.’ Photo – Marley Morgan

The pair have been painting together since Melissa was a young girl. Photo – Marley Morgan

Lauren’s art uses earthy tones, bush berries and native animals that she remembers clearly from her childhood growing up in the bush. Photo – Alice Payne

Meanwhile, Melissa infuses more of a feminine & contemporary style, telling stories of womanhood and resilience using bright bold colours and textures, according to their website. Photo – Alice Payne

Lauren is also a master weaver and cultural consultant. Photo – Alice Payne

They have each developed their own unique style. Photo – Malvina Ministrova

‘Working together as mother and daughter is fun! We laugh, muck around, be silly, snap at each other… A typical mother and daughter duo… We love it,’ Melissa says. Photo – Marley Morgan

Their original artworks are all hand painted art by Melissa and Lauren in their little home studio on Gumbaynggirr country. Photo – Todd Clare

‘We are also inspired by our beautiful homelands: Jullundur (the mountains), Gaagal (seas), Bindaray (rivers) and our totems.’ Photo – Alice Payne

Miimi and Jiinda’s ‘Gaagal’, which featured on The Block! Photo – Milina Opsenica

Christina Karras
Wednesday 9th March 2022

‘I think what we are most proud of, though, is what we have built together and how we have been able to give back to our mob – it’s at the centre of everything we do.’

Melissa Greenwood grew up in a ‘huge Aboriginal family’ (hailing from the Gumbaynggirr, Dunghutti, and Bundjalung tribes), and was raised to always be proud of her culture.

‘Because of the past injustices that happened to our people, including my family, I have always been very passionate about creating change and helping wider Australia to see the richness of our culture, which is alive and thriving today,’ Melissa says.

She has been painting with her mum, Lauren Jarrett (who was part of the Stolen Generation), since she was a young girl, as a way to share, heal and connect with their culture.

This shared passion in art, ancestry and Country eventually led them to launch their business, Miimi and Jiinda, and has continued to inspire their ongoing work together; from the ancient techniques, colours and patterns, to the brand’s name itself.

‘Miimi and Jiinda means Mother and Sister, and is representative of our strong matriarchal lineage. We come from a line of resilient women who inspire us daily and have instilled in us pride, passion, and determination,’ Melissa explains.

The pair’s evolving culture and family stories are at the heart of everything they create. Their incredible artworks can take anywhere from one day to three months to complete, depending on the size, medium, technique, and the story they’re telling through the painting.

‘Sometimes an artwork will just flow out of you, so guided by our ancestors, and other times it is something that has to be created and told over a longer period of time. So both the physical factors, and emotional/spiritual factors play a part in how long a piece can take to create,’ Melissa says.

Their intricate and colourful designs are available as ‘wearable art’ via their new clothing and homeware label; Ochre by Miimi & Jiinda. Melissa says their collaboration with Adairs, and having their artwork feature on Channel 9’s The Block are among some of their proudest moments.

‘I think what we are most proud of, though, is what we have built together and how we have been able to give back to our mob – it’s at the centre of everything we do. We have been able to donate to Indigenous projects that we are passionate about, putting money back into our community, as well as been able to hire Aboriginal staff, and give opportunities to our local mob.’

Shop Miimi and Jiinda’s works here or at their store in Urunga, NSW. Follow them on Instagram here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net