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Kungkarangkalpa by Judith Yinyika Chambers


Kungkarangkalpa by Judith Yinyika Chambers

Object information


Judith's painting depicts an important Ngaanyatjarra women's story, Kungkarangkalpa (Seven Sisters Dreaming). Seven sisters were travelling from Warnan to Warakurna. A wati (man) spied on them whilst they were digging deep water holes for drinking water. He wanted to make the youngest one his wife but the sisters ran away and hid from him. They then crossed the country passing through sand hills and dug for water as there was none in the creeks. Eventually they reached Docker River where they were safe from the man.

The Seven Sisters Songline travels from the west to the east across the far western and central deserts. The sisters are pursued by a man, Yurla in the west and Wati Nyiru further east, who is a shape shifter with transformative powers. He becomes besotted by one of the sisters and pursues them endlessly in order to possess them. Today, this saga is visible in the Orion constellation and Pleiades star cluster as a constant reminder of the consequences of attempting to possess something through wrongful means.

In the Wanurn songline section of the larger Seven Sisters songline, "the sisters' story unfolds as they flee their lustful pursuer in an easterly direction, from Kunnamurra. At Kunnamurra the name for the sisters changes from the Martu 'Minyipuru' to the Ngaanyatjarra 'Kungkarrangkalpa', while the man is called Yurla. The community of Wanarn, 125 kilometres north-east of Kunnamurra, was built because it is such an important place in the sisters' journey, with several landscape features manifesting the presence of the women and Yurla. From here they continue north-eastwards to Warakurna, ending up near Docker River."
Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, NMA Press, 2017, p157

"The Seven Sisters travelled from Wanarn, past Tjantu Paltju Pungkutja (a Seven Sisters site), to Warakurna. At Tjantu Paltju Pungkutja they collected yellow berries called tantu or yitunpa, and smashed them into a digestible paste (top right of the painting). After continuing further, they sat near a sand-hill beside the track to Warakurna. Here, Yurla turned himself into a wira (desert oak), which is still next to the road. The sisters caught and ate a tilwilpa (small kangaroo), then moved on, turned back and started dancing. Noticing that Yurla was nearby, the sisters fl ew to Yarlkurka, a site near Warakurna." (Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, 2017 - Exhibition text)

Physical description

An acrylic painting on canvas showing groups of people and individuals, connected by white dotted lines. The background is made of dot infill in predominantly red and orange tones.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of thirty-three paintings produced by Warakurna Artists for a collaborative commercial exhibition with the Outstation Gallery in Darwin. The exhibition, 'History Paintings - All the Stories got into our minds and eyes', opened in May 2011.

The collection is significant as a broad and comprehensive body of work that presents a series of (related) Aboriginal perspectives on events in Australian history, some of which fundamentally challenge other accounts in the historical record. The collection documents the historical perspective of Ngaanyatjarra people who currently reside in the community of Warakurna. Contextualised by more customary mythic narratives, most of the works address historical events and provide an insight into the Aboriginal experience of contact on the colonial frontier. Taken together, from the Seven Sisters Dreaming to football carnivals in Warakurna today, the collection encompasses 100 years (and more) of history in the Ngaanyatjarra lands.

Object information

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