Seven Sisters

Sonya Edney

Artwork Year



95 x 130 cm


acrylic on canvas


The Seven sisters dreaming story the group of stars are Napaljarri sisters from one skin group. In the Warlpiri story of this Jukurrpa, the sisters are often represented carrying the Jampijinpa man Wardilyka, who is in love with the women. Then the morning star, Jukurra-jukurra, who is a Jakamarra man and who is also in love with the seven Napaljarri sisters, is shown chasing them across the night sky. They are seen to be running away, fleeing from the man who wants to take one of the sisters for his wife. However under traditional law, the man pursuing the sisters is the wrong skin group and is forbidden to take a Napaljarri wife.

So the Seven Sisters are running away from the Jampijinpa man, they travel across the land, and then from a steep hill they launch themselves into the sky in an attempt to escape. But the Jakamarra man follows the sisters into the sky, travelling in the form of a star seen in the Orion’s Belt star cluster, which is also seen as the base of the Big Dipper. So every night the Seven Sisters launch themselves from earth into the night sky, and every night the Jampijinpa man follows after them across the sky.

In this painting, Yingarrda artist Sonya Edney paints the Seven Sisters and the Milky Way in the night sky over the desert. She relates, “When we were younger, we used to go 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 all you could see were the stars that lit up the Milky Way in the night sky and the dark patches within it. 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. When we can see the Seven Sisters close to the horizon getting ready to go under the water, we know emu eggs are ready. That sky talks to us and we know – we follow the sky and the stars.”

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