Artist Joy Nginana Lyons
Title Kungkarrangkalpa (Seven Sisters)
Year 2022

Acrylic on linen

Dimensions 101 × 152 cm
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Joy Nginana Lyons

Joy Nginana Lyons is an emerging artist with Papulankutja Artists, and was nominated as a finalist for this year’s Telstra National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA). Joy is one of seven siblings, three of whom also are practicing artists and leaders in the next generation of Papulankutja Artists. Joy and her siblings grew up travelling on foot throughout the Ngaanyatjarra and APY Lands visiting relatives and maintaining cultural obligations. Her mother, Edith Lyons, a highly regarded painter taught Joy and her siblings Ngaanyatjarra heritage, law and culture.

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.