Mildred (Megan) Nyunkiya Lyons

Artist Mildred (Megan) Nyunkiya Lyons
Title Kungkarrangkalpa (Seven Sisters)
Year 2022

Acrylic on cotton canvas

Dimensions 92 × 92 cm
Art Centre Papulankutja Artists →

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Mildred (Megan) Nyunkiya Lyons

Mildred (Megan) Nyunkiya Lyons was one of seven children and during her childhood her family travelled throughout the Ngaanyatjara and Anangu Pitjantjatjarra, Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands visiting relatives and maintaining cultural obligations. Her mother, Edith Lyons, a highly regarded painter, taught Mildred Ngaanyatjarra heritage, law and culture. She attended school in Warburton and Mantamaru before moving to school in Papulankutja. When Mildred was young she loved to go walking with the other girls in the bush looking for honey ants and yellow berries. Mildred began painting after spending time in the Papulankutja arts centre as an art worker, helping to take photos of paintings. Mildred paints with her sisters Joy, Paula and Angela and often at least three Lyons sisters are painting at the art centre together.

Artist statement

Kungkarrangkalpa (The Seven Sisters or Pleaides) is a significant Tjukurrpa (dreaming). Wati Nyiru (Orion) fell in love with the sisters but he was of the wrong skin group to marry. The sisters travel across the land to escape Nyiru’s unwanted attentions, but he is persistent and always finds them. There are significant land forms which can be seen today that is evidence of this dreaming. He tries to catch them by using magic to turn into kampurarrpa (bush tomato) and yirli (wild fig tree), for them to eat and camp under. However, the sisters are too clever for Nyiru who they outwit again and again. They go hungry and run through the night rather than be caught by him. Eventually, the sisters fly into the sky to escape Nyiru, forming the Pleaides constellation. Nyiru felt lonely, longing for the sisters who were so far away. Nyiru used his magic to go into the sky, forever in pursuit.