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Seven Sisters



Nyunmiti Burton


1964 –

Language group: Pitjantjatjara, Southern Desert region

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Indulkana South Australia Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    synthetic polymer paint on linen
    200.0 x 300.0 x 4.5 cm
    Roberts Family Acquisition 2020
    Yiribana Gallery
    Accession number
    © Nyunmiti Burton/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Wynne Prize
    Roberts Family Prize - 2020
    Artist information
    Nyunmiti Burton

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Nyunmiti Burton is a leading artist from Amata in the Anangu Pitjanjtatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands of the Southern Desert region. Here she captures the sentience of Country through visceral reds, pinks, oranges, and blacks, to draw attention to the celestial Seven Sisters, who travel across the night sky and are innately connected to her Country.

    “This is a Tjukurpa about the constellations of Pleiades and Orion. The sisters are the constellation of Pleiades and the other star Orion is said to be Nyiru or Nyirunya (described as a lusty or bad man). Nyiru is forever chasing the sisters known as the Kunkarunkara women as it is said he wants to marry the eldest sister. The seven sisters travel again and again from the sky to the earth to escape Nyiru’s unwanted attentions. They turn into their human form to escape from the persistent Nyiru, but he always finds them, and they flee back to the sky. As Nyiru is chasing the sisters he tries to catch them by using magic to turn into the most tempting kampurarpra (bush tomatoes) for the sisters to eat and the most beautiful ili (fig) tree for them to camp under. However, the sisters are too clever for Nyiru and outwit him as they are knowledgeable about his magic. They go hungry and run through the night rather than be caught by Nyiru. Every now and again one of the women fall victim to his ways. It is said that he eventually captures the youngest sister, but with the help of the oldest sister, she escapes back to her sisters who are waiting for her. Eventually the sisters fly back into the sky to escape Nyiru, reforming the constellation.”

    Nyunmiti Burton 2020

    This work was a finalist in the Wynne Prize 2020 and was acquired by the Gallery in 2020.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

Other works by Nyunmiti Burton