Seven Sisters

synthetic polymer paint on canvas
197 x 198 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2011
© The artist and Tjala Arts

In this work Tjampawa, with assistance from her daughter Tjimpayi Presely, daughter-in-law Mona Mitakiki and grand-daughter Kia Shepherd, has depicted the Kungkarakalpa or Seven Sisters Story:

The sisters are the Pleiades constellation and Orion is said to be Nyiru or Nyirunya (described as a lusty or bad man). Nyiru is forever chasing the sisters as if he wants to marry the eldest sister. The seven sisters travel again and again to escape Nyiru’s unwanted attentions. They turn into their human form to escape from the persistent Nyiru, but he always finds them and they flee back to the sky. As Nyiru is chasing the sisters he tries to catch them by using magic to turn into the most tempting kampurarpra (bush tomatoes) for the sisters to eat and the most beautiful Ili (fig) tree for them to camp under. However, the sisters are too clever for Nyiru and outwit him as they are knowledgeable about his magic. Eventually the sisters fly back into the sky to escape Nyiru, reforming the constellation.

note: Kunmanara is a term of respect used to replace the first name of Anangu who have died.


Tjampawa 2.jpg

Kunmanara (Tjampawa) Katie Kawiny

born: c.1921 in the bush near Amata SA
died 2013
Pitjantjatjara language group
Art Centre: Tjala Arts, Amata SA

Kunmanara (Tjampawa) Katie Kawiny was a senior woman from Amata. She was a cultural leader within her community and displayed great artistic skill as a result of her connection to culture. Tjampawa and her family are the traditional owners of the homeland Tjurma which is adjacent to Amata. Tjampawa previously lived in Irrunytju (Wingellina), Western Australia, but later moved with other family members back to their homeland Katjikuta which is approximately 5km northeast of Amata.

Tjampawa joined Tjala Arts around 1999 and in addition to painting, she made animal figures and baskets from local grasses, purchased raffia and any material or items she finds around her homeland.