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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Parrtjartanya, the story of the native cat and possum brothers



Reggie Jackson


circa 1923 - Jan 2007

Language group

Ngaatjatjara, Southern Desert region


The Papulankutja Artists documentation for the work states:

This is the story of the native cat and possum brothers. This is a story associated with Warakuna but it can be relevant further north in Tjukurrla. The big brother was a native cat and the younger brother was a possum. They would go out in the middle of the night as they were afraid of the daylight. The possum boy was blind and couldn't see, but the native cat man had good eyes and he could see to kill kangaroos for food. Sometimes the cat man would find meat that had been killed by others and left. The meat was often rotten and not good for eating but the cat man ate it anyway. One night when they were out hunting they misjudged the time and the native cat man was travelling along the top of the ridge when he saw the sun come up. He ran away in fear. He went backwards as quickly as he could and went right into the cave. The possum boy who was blind went in after him and they are still in that cave today.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2006




Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on canvas


185.0 x 61.0 cm stretcher

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2006


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Reggie Jackson

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history