Vivian Pingkayi Thompson

Artist Vivian Pingkayi Thompson
Title Kungkarangkalpa (Seven Sisters)
Year 2022


Dimensions 52 × 15 cm
Art Centre Ernabella Arts →

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Vivian Pingkayi Thompson

Vivian Pingkayi Thompson was born in 1978 in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) and has lived in Pukatja (Ernabella) all her life. Her father, Kunmanara (Kawaki) Thompson, was a highly regarded senior Pitjantjatjara man, important in the Land Rights movement. Her mother, Carlene Thompson, is on the board of NPY Women’s Council and a senior member of the art centre. Vivian first started creating artwork while in school, and learnt milpatjunanyi (telling stories in the sand). Vivian has been painting at the art centre since 2004 and began working with ceramics since 2009. That year she was part of the Remote Communities Ceramic Project and undertook a residency at the Australian National University’s Ceramic Workshop. In 2009 her work was acquired by the National Gallery of Australia.

Artist statement

Kungkarangkalpa means the Seven Sisters. This is an extensive creation story that relates to the Pleiades constellation in the southern hemisphere. The story traverses Australia taking on different forms, however local women are privy to the part of the story which takes place in the country near Pukatja (Ernabella). For this part of the story, the man called Nyiru is chasing the sisters as he wants to sleep with the oldest sister. All the younger sisters are deeply afraid of him. As Nyiru is chasing the sisters, he tries to catch them by using magic to turn himself into the most tempting kampurara (bush tomatoes) for the sisters to eat and the most beautiful ili (fig) tree for the sisters to camp under. However, the sisters are aware of his magic and go hungry and run through the night rather than be caught by Nyiru. Eventually, to escape Nyiru, the sisters fly into the sky where they turn into stars and form the constellation.