Seven Sisters Dreaming

Sonya Edney

Artwork Year



151 x 133 cm


acrylic on canvas


In this painting, Yinggarda artist Sonya Edney paints the Seven Sisters in the night sky over the red desert landscape. She relates, “When we were younger, we used to live out bush and we camped out under the stars. My nanna told us kids about the sky stories, about the stars. It was so beautiful sleeping out under the desert sky because you could see all the stars, especially those that lit up the Milky Way. Our old people taught us to look at the sky – the stars, the Milky Way – for the sky talks to us and tells us many things. It gives us knowledge. We follow the sky and the stars.”

In this painting, Sonya has depicted the Seven Sisters low over the horizon and illuminating the country which is covered in colourful wildflowers after the spring rains. The Seven Sisters story is one that travels, with slight regional and site specific, differences right across Australia.

The story involves seven ancestral sisters who were being pursued by a cheeky man who possessed transformational powers. He wanted one of the sisters for a wife. They ran away from him, as he was of the wrong skin group, and managed to resist his magical transformative powers until one day they took off into the heavens and became the cluster of stars we know as the Pleiades. He followed them into the sky and became part of Orion, but still could not reach them. The seven sisters remained ever within his sight but forever unattainable, watching protectively over the women on earth.

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