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Otto Sims


Otto Jungarrayi Sims was born in 1960 at Yuendumu, an Aboriginal community about 290km northwest of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

He spent much of his childhood travelling in the surrounding country.

Otto finished high school in Yuendumu and has continued his studies through the indigenous college in Alice Springs where he achieved a bachelor in Business.

He has worked for Yuendumu Council and the Tanami Goldmine in the 1990s.

Otto’s father, Paddy Japaljarri Sims, passed stories down to Otto that were, in turn, passed down by to him by his parents, and their parents before them for millennia.

These stories relate directly to Otto’s country at Kunajarrayi and Yanjilpirri, its features and flora and fauna.

Otto has a passion for hunting Kiparra (Bush turkey), and can often be seen driving down backroads around Yuendumu in his four wheel drive.


This painting shows the traditional practices associated with burning off areas of spinifex country.  The fires are lit so that ‘liwirringki’ (burrowing skins), and other lizards and small mammals are flushed out of their burrows and hiding places.

This allows them to be more easily caught for food and also enables the re-growth of a diversity of plants, which in turn attracts a broader range of animal food species.

The ‘kirda’ (custodians) of this dreaming are Japaljarri/Jungarrayi mena nd Napaljarri / Nungarrayi women.

The ‘kurdungurlu’ (ceremonial police) are the Jampijinpa / Nampijinpa and the Jupurrurla / Napurrurla skin groups.

This Dreaming is specifically associated with hunting ‘liwirringki’ and is celebrated with a ‘corroborree’ (ceremonial design).  This corroborree is painted on the ground that has been burnt and cleared by the fire that was started there.

In traditional Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, particular sites and other elements.  It is usual that in paintins of this Jukurrpa circular motifs represent water soakages and rock holes while curvy lines are often used to depict Warlu (fire) and flames spreading out in the area.


Otto has painted for Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 1990, and was elected to its executive committee in 2002 and Chairman of the art centre in 2007.

Royalties from the sale of these products directly benefiting the Artist community, Warlukurlangu Artists – www.warlu.com