- Title: Napaljarri-warnu Jukurrpa (Seven Sisters
- Medium: Acrylic on pre-primed cotton canvas, stretched on a frame
- Year: 2023
- Size: 38 x 53 cm
- Artist skin name: Nampijinpa
- Language group: Warlpiri
- Community: Yuendumu, NT
- Artwork certificate provided
Seven Sisters Story
The Napaljarri-warnu Jukurrpa (Seven Sisters Creation Story) depicts the story of the seven ancestral sisters who are found in the night sky today in the cluster of seven stars in the constellation Taurus, more commonly known as the Pleiades. The Pleiades are seven women of the Napaljarri skin group. Jukurra-jukurra, the morning star, is a Jakamarra man who is in love with the seven Napaljarri sisters and is often shown chasing them across the night sky. In this painting he is the large circle. After being pursued across the land relentlessly the women make a final attempt to escape from the Jakamarra and turned themselves into fire and ascended to the heavens to become stars. The custodians of the Napaljarri-warnu Jukurrpa are Japaljarri/Jungarrayi men and Napaljarri/Nungarrayi women. Some parts of the Napaljarri-warnu Jukurrpa are closely associated with men’s sacred ceremonies of a very sacred nature (and not for public disclosure). In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, associated sites and other elements.
Maria Brown Biography
Maria Nampijinpa Brown was born in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community, 290 km from Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. She is the daughter of Wendy Nungarrayi Brown and grand-daughter of Paddy Japaljarri Sims (dec.) one of the founding artists of Warlukurlangu Artists and Bessie Nakamarra Sims (dec.), a successful artist in her own right. When she was little she would watch her mother and her grandparents paint and listen to their stories. She is widowed, lives in Yuendumu and has two daughters, Antoinette Napanangka Brown who also paints with the art centre and Alicka Napanangka Brown.
Maria has been painting with the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre, since 1995. She paints her parents and her grandparents Jukurrpa stories, stories that have been passed down through the generations for millennia. These stories relate to the artists traditional country northwest of Nyirirpi, a settlement 160 kms west of Yuendumu. Maria uses traditional iconography, while developing a modern individualistic style to depict her traditional Jukurrpa. She is an innovative and thoughtful artist. When Maria is not painting she likes to tell stories to her grandchildren, hunt for honey ants when it is raining, and collect firewood for cooking kangaroo tails.
The director of Songlines, Felicity Wright (aka Nangala), was the first manager of Warlukurlangu Artists from 1986-88 and is well known to the Sims/Brown family. Living and working on Warlpiri country and learning the language and stories was a huge privilege and changed her perspective on the world. The Warlpiris introduced her to Indigenous ways of seeing and being in the world. The old men and women ‘grew her up’. Maria remembers seeing ‘Nangala’ when she was a child living in West Camp in Yuendumu. She maintains strong connections with the Warlpiri families. When Maria visits Darwin she chooses to bring her artworks to Songlines.