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Sparkling Particles

November 10, 2010
Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi

Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi, Seven Sisters,

Image Credit: Aboriginal Art Coop Gallery

By 1992 Gabriella Possum had settled with her growing family in Broadmeadows, on the outskirts of Melbourne. She and her famous artist father, Clifford Possum Japaltjarri, exhibited in Sydney at Coo-ee Gallery that year before creating works that were exhibited in the USA and throughout Europe. She participated in Modern Art-Ancient Icon (1992) and Down Under (1993) while completing commissions for posters, clothing designs and licensed merchandise. At this time she began to develop the imagery for which she has become best known, the Seven Sister Dreaming that traces the movement of the Pleiades and the Morning Star as they journey amongst the constellations of the Milky Way. The work illustrated is an excellent example. Measuring 111 x 180 cm, it was created in 2000 two years before her father’s death.

The songlines of the Milky Way travel from the far northern reaches of Arnhem Land, down across the continent through Central Australia and beyond. In the version painted by Gabriella Possum the Sisters traveled over a vast expanse of country, followed by a man called Wati-Nyiru of the Tjakamarra skin group. He disguised himself, appearing in many different forms to deceive them. The Seven Sisters escaped through a fire at Kurlunyalimpa to the Milky Way where they became the stars of the Pleiades in the Constellation Taurus. Wati-Nyiru followed them to the heavens, and became the Morning Star in the constellation Orion. In her renditions of the story, Gabriella recreates the desert night sky with its luminous heavenly characters suspended in the deep blue of space. The Milky Way is depicted as clouds of softly glowing stars, with the major characters in the narrative appearing as singular stellar ‘landmarks’ that emerge from dark empty spaces. In the finest of these works Gabriella demonstrates all of the skill and technique she learnt sitting at her father’s side watching him vary his palette and variegate the margins of his dotting in each complimentary colour.

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One comment

  1. Charming mythology and beautiful art!



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