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Seven Sisters

acrylic on linen
122 x 300 cm
Corrigan Collection
© The Artist and Tjala Arts

In this painting she has depicted Kungkarangkalpa – Seven Sisters – a significant Tjukurpa (Creation Story) that travels through the entire region. The sisters are said to be 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 it is said he wants to marry the eldest:

According to the story, the seven sisters travel again and again from the sky to the earth to escape the persistent Nyiru’s unwanted attentions. They turn into their human form to hide, 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. They go hungry and run through the night rather than be caught by Nyiru.

Every now and again one of the women fall victim to his ways. It is said that he eventually captures the youngest sister, but with the help of the oldest sister, she escapes back to her sisters who are waiting for her. Eventually the sisters fly back into the sky to escape Nyiru, reforming the constellation.


Tjungkara Ken

Born: 1969 Amata SA
Pitjantjatjara language group
Art Centre: Tjala Arts, Amata SA

Born at Amata in 1969, Tjungkara Ken is a dedicated artist and one of Tjala Arts key members. She began painting in 1997, becoming more committed in 2008. Her mother’s country is Wingellina and her father’s country is Amata. Tjungkara depicts this country and it’s Tjukurpa in her paintings with her distinctive style. Mountain ranges, rock holes and elements of the land are illustrated through her detailed work.