Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

Female sculpture of the Flying Seven Sisters - made by Jennifer Nginana Mitchelll and Belle Karrika Davidson, 2015

2015.0045.0009

Female sculpture of the Flying Seven Sisters - made by Jennifer Nginana Mitchelll and Belle Karrika Davidson, 2015

Object information

Description

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.

When the songline reaches the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, the tone darkens and the actions of Wati Nyiru become more sinister. His obsession with the eldest sister is the major theme, and the paintings acquired relating to the Seven Sisters focus on several key events ? the capture of the eldest sister, the cooking and eating of kuniya, (the carpet snake, which is a manifestation of the shape-shifter), and the transformation of the sisters into stars.
On the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, people are connected to sites through their kinship to the Ancestral characters who inhabit the narrative. The rituals of dance and song ? inma ? enact the universal meanings of the Tjukurrpa. The Seven Sisters drama unfolds along two songlines in this section. As you journey along the Kuru Ala songline to the south and Wanarn to the north. the paintings function as portals to place.
(Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, NMA Press, 2017, p119)

Physical description

A female sculpture made from grass, feathers and bushes wound and stitched together with string, wool and raffia. The figure is over life-size with arms stretched upwards above the head. Some features include grey dense hair and pink and purple legs.

Object information

Back to top