Kungkarrangkalpa (Seven Sisters)
Size: 29.5 x 29.5cm; acrylic on cotton canvas
Catalogue Number: 4-19
This is a popular Tjukurpa Story (Dreamtime Story) about the constellations of Pleiades and Orion that is common to most Indigenous Australian groups. The different versions of this story depend on where you live and the significance’s of local Dreaming places.
The sisters are said to be Pleiades and the other star Orion is Nyiru or Nyirunya (described as a lusty or bad man). Nyiru is forever chasing the sisters known as the Kungkarrangkalpa women as he wants sex and to marry the eldest sister.
The seven sisters travel across the land to escape Nyiru’s unwanted attentions, but he is persistent and always finds them. Eventually sisters fly into the sky to escape Nyiru forming the constellation.
As Nyiru is chasing the sisters he tries to catch them by using magic to turn into the most tempting kampurarrpa (bush tomato) for the sisters eat and the most beautiful Yirli (wild fig tree), for them to eat and camp under. However, the sisters are knowledgeable of his magic and too clever for Nyiru who they outwit again and again. They go hungry and run through the night rather than be caught by Nyiru.
Every now and again one of the sisters, usually the big sister is caught and raped by Nyiru. It is said he also captures the youngest sister, but with the help of the oldest sister, she escapes back to her sisters who are waiting for her.