Kungkarangkalpa by Niningka Lewis

Seven Sisters Story – Kungkarangkalpa

Walka is Desert design and inextricably linked with Tjukurpa:the Law and way of life of Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people). The symbols were traditionally used in cave, ground and body paintings, in story telling, teaching and signalling inheritance. Meaning of the designs depends on its subject and particular people are responsible for their re-creation and teaching according to the Tjukurpa. Highly experienced craftspeople have grown up making traditional tools and weapons under the instruction of their elders. They now apply this knowledge and express their world through art such as this.

Both the dot painting and etching techniques, where walka is burnt into the wood with wire heated on a wood fire, have become Centralian traditions, evolving with the adaptation of traditional design for public display and as a depiction of Tjukurpa and landscape.

In this walka board Niningka is celebrating the Tjukurpa of the Kungkarangkalpa or Seven Sisters. They were pursued by a cunning man called Nyiru through a vast amount of Australia  Nyiru is depicted as the solitary figure with kulata, miru munu tjutinypa, spears, spearthrower and club, while the women have their piti munu wana, bowls and digging sticks with them.

Whatever their actions: building shelters or hunting for food, significant features of the landscape were formed.  Eventually they fled into the sky and became the constellation known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. Nyiru still follows them ceaselessly across the sky as one of the bright stars of Orion.