Artist Paula Sarkaway Lyons
Title Kungkarrangkalpa (Seven Sisters)
Year 2022

Acrylic on cotton canvas

Dimensions 61 × 76 cm
Art Centre Papulankutja Artists →

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Paula Sarkaway Lyons

Paula Sarkaway Lyons’s parents were both Ngaanyatjarra with her mother born in Wanarn and her father in Yanka, north of Papulankutja (Blackstone). Paula and her sisters paint together at Papulankutja Artists. As children, they travelled on foot and lived in different remote communities including Warburton and Papulankutja. Paula has been involved with the Papulankutja Women’s Centre since its early days, before it became an art centre. She is an active member of Tjanpi Desert Weavers making sculptural objects and was one of 18 women who created the ‘Tjanpi Toyota’ that won first prize in the 2005 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA).

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.