Fair Trade

Seven Sisters Tjukurpa

Artist: Nelly Patterson

Story: 'Seven Sisters Tjukurpa' by Nelly Patterson. Nellie has an intimate knowledge of the Seven Sisters Story – an epic Tjukurpa (creation) story in which a man, Wati Nyiru chases seven sisters across the whole of Australia, shaping the land as they go. The sisters started in Whyalla. Wati Nyiru chased them down to Port Augusta and wouldn’t leave the sisters alone. He wanted to marry the big sister. The sisters left in the middle of the night to try and get away from him while he was sleeping. When Wati Nyiru woke, he wondered where the sisters had gone, but he soon was on their trail again, and found them near Canberra. The eldest sister was worried - she knew he was here again, watching the sisters while they camped. The sisters ran to the Blue Mountains to hide, but Nelly explains that Wati Nyiru was a ‘mad one,’ he knew they were scared but he still followed them. Ten people were in the Blue Mountains, three stayed, and the seven kept traveling – up through New South Wales and to Queensland, going through Cairns and Laura. The Laura mob noticed the seven sisters – they were different people, and sand different songs. The sisters got to Dunsfeld and turned around and went back to near where they were from. They went to Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, then the sisters traveled around Hermannsburg way. The younger sisters wanted to stay here, but the eldest sister said they had to keep moving. In Tempe Downs, Wati Nyiru got very close to the sisters. The eldest sister was secretly signaling to the sisters that he was nearby, so as to not let Wati Nyiru know she was aware he was there. The sisters ended up in Irawa, and moved through Angas Town, Curtin Springs, Mulga Park and Cape Bell near Amata in the APY Lands. The man, Wati Nyiru, was singing about how much he wanted the big sister. He did too much dancing, that man, and the sisters ran away. He loved all the girls. The girls kept running. This painting depicts some of these places where the sisters camped.