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National Museum of Australia

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'Minyipuru' by Nora Nangapa, 2008


'Minyipuru' by Nora Nangapa, 2008

Object information


"The man who was chasing the Seven Sisters saw them dancing at Nyipil [Well 34], then they went back, flying to Kunawarritji [Well 33]. He saw them, 'Oh, there they are at Kunawarritji!' Then he followed them to Pangkapini. " [Nora Nangapa]

The Seven Sisters or Minyipuru story is one of most important Jukurrpa narratives for Martu women. When they began painting in 2006, it was the first story they told.

This songline extends south-eastwards from a site near Parnngurr rock hole to Kalypa (Well 23) on the Canning Stock Route, and then north-east to Pangkapini, after which it leaves Martu county. As the Seven Sisters continue their journey from Parnngurr, Yurla is always nearby, lurking at waterholes where the sisters hope to rest, spying on them as they dance, wash, sleep and gather food, awaiting his chance to catch one of them. (p47 Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, NMA Press, 2017)

Physical description

An acrylic painting on canvas of outlined motifs in bright colours on a predominantly yellow background. On one short side there is a red line motif that appears like uneven stripes with some connecting together. Next to that is a white, yellow and red three pronged motif and a blue pear shape overlaid with two yellow ovals. In the central section there is a red long thin outlined oblong, and at the other shortest end there are circles, V shapes in green and outlined shapes in red at both corners with a blue outlined shape between them. On one long edge is the text 'MARTUMILI' and on one short side is the text 'Nyangapa Nyungurai Yirnapayi 182 x 178 [two words crossed out] 08-923'. In one corner is the number four in a circle.

Statement of significance

The Canning Stock Route collection is comprised of 125 works and includes paintings, drawings, baskets, boomerangs, coolamons, headdresses, carved figures and shields.

The Canning Stock Route is a no-longer-used cattle droving route that traverses the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts of central Western Australia. Comprised of 48 wells along an 1800 kilometres stretch of track, the route links Wiluna in the south with Sturt Creek in the north and traverses the traditional lands of nine Aboriginal language groups. The route was founded in 1905 when Alfred Canning was commissioned to investigate a route suitable for the droving of 500 head of cattle, with water sources spaced at intervals of no more than one day's walk apart. Although Canning's map records observations of the land and water resources, it makes no mention of Indigenous places and their associated meanings which the route traversed. This collection, composed of 'painting stories', sculptural works and oral histories, re-dresses Canning's omission and records the impact of the stock route on Indigenous lives and country. A six week journey with traditional owners held in July and August of 2007 inspired the artworks, many of which were produced during the journey, and provided an opportunity for more than 70 senior and emerging artists to reconnect with traditional lands..

Object information

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