Warlpiri Star Gazers Dazzle at Japingka

Alma Granites Seven Sisters Dreaming

November 19, 2014 by David Wroth

It would be fair to say that we're all a little starstruck right now at Japingka as we're hanging the paintings for our Warlpiri Star Gazers exhibition.

It’s not surprising that the contemporary Aboriginal art movement bought us a number of artists who passionately follow astronomical themes in their painting.

It’s clear that historically Aboriginal people took a lot of notice of the stars. As nomads they used astronomy to plan many of their activities. Decisions such as the direction to travel, when to travel and times for hunting were influenced by the stars. Astronomy was also the inspiration for important stories across many tribal groups.

This next exhibition Warlpiri Star Gazers opens in Gallery1 from 21 November to 23 December and showcases some of the artists who draw on the stars for their inspiration.

Perhaps the best known of these is the Warlpiri artist Alma Nungarrayi Granites. Alma is known for her paintings of the Seven Sisters Dreaming.

Seven Sister Dreaming Story
These paintings tell of how the ancestral Napaljarri sisters formed in the star cluster known as the Pleiades.The Pleiades are seven women who are depicted in this Jukurrpa carrying the Jampijinpa man Wardilyka. This man is in love with the Napaljarri-warnu and who is represented in the Orion's Belt cluster of stars. Jukurra-jukurra, the morning star, is a Jakamarra man who is also in love with the seven Napaljarri sisters. In paintings he is often shown chasing them across the night sky. In a final attempt to escape from the Jakamarra, the Napaljarri-warnu turned themselves into fire and ascended to the heavens to become stars.

Other artists represented in our Warlpiri Star Gazers exhibition include; Christine Napanangka Michaels, Murdie Nampijinpa Morris, Nola Napangardi Wilson Fisher, Valerie Napurrurla Morris, Stephanie Napurrurla Nelson, Walter Jangala Brown and many others.

It’s a stunning collection and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Read more: Warlpiri Star Gazers