Seven Sisters Dreaming

Michelle Possum Nungurrayi

Artwork Year



188 x 134 cm


acrylic on canvas


In this painting, Michelle Possum Nungurrayi captures the night sky over the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory of Australia, which was home to seven Ancestral Sisters and an old Tjakamarra tribal man who followed the sisters to the Milky Way during the Creation Time. Shown as seven concentric circles clustered together, the Seven Sisters once lived a tribal life in the desert, which included gathering native bush-food and engaging in women’s ceremonies. Here, life was good for the women until they found themselves being constantly harassed by a `dizzy` old tribal man, who wanted to marry all, or one, of the sisters, none of whom was interested in the old man’s intentions. Besides, he was of the wrong Skin group.

Represented as a lone concentric circle, the old man was relentless in his pursuit of the women, who finally decided to flee to the Milky Way and there they became seven stars, which we call the Pleiades in the constellation of Taurus. The old man, however, would not give up and so he followed the Sisters to their new abode and became the Morning Star. His efforts to catch the women, however, have remained futile, for the Seven Sisters retain their freedom to this present day, but with the old man still following their trail, as shown in this work.

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