Walangari Karntawarra TJAKAMARRA (Aborigine artist, Australia, born in 1961)
Seven Sisters Dreaming, 1998
Acrylic on canvas
Marked inscriptions on canvas’s verso by artist: signed by the artist 11/10/98 + hand contour drawing + 987
Description text from legend associated with work: Title : Seven Sisters Dreaming ; Artist : Walangari Karntawarra TJAKAMARRA ; Skin : Jakamarra ; Nations : Arrernte, Luritja, Walpiri, Pintubi, Alyawarre, Yankungatjarra ; Jukurrpa : Snake, Honeyant, Euro, Seven Sisters, Witchetty Grub, Rainbow, Centipede, Catapillar, Milkyway, Kangaroo Mouse, Emu ; Story : The Seven Sisters are very important in the way children are reared and taken care of. The painting depicts the elders and grandmothers teaching our children. Education is a way of life not a system. This is how we teach. This is the 3 L’s - look, listen and learn. When we learnt about the value of the Seven Sisters we would go out and look for honey ants. In looking for a gathering of honey ants with our grandmothers, mothers and aunties, we were taught about the stars, seasonal patterns and many other things including caring and sharing, two core elements of aboriginal society as well as gaining knowledge above our land. We were taught our kinship system. This system is very complicated as it relates to everything in the Universe.
Height : 121 cm (47-1/2 in.) - Width : 76 cm (30 in.)
Stretcher with wedges
Work is in perfect condition.
- private collection, Australia
- Arts of the Land
Work accompanied with its certificate copy from Arts of the Land + English article about the artist
This work was exhibited at Contemporary Art Museum Les Abattoirs, Toulouse, France for the exhibition “Temps du Rêve / Dreamtime” in 2009.
Born in 1961, Walangari Karntawarra Jakamarra belongs to what has been called the "stolen generation" - Aborigine children removed from their parents to be placed in institutions or adopted by Anglo-Saxons in accordance with official policy for assimilation enacted in the 1960s. Son of an Arrernte woman and a member of the Pintupi clan, he was taken from his parents at the age of seven and grew up in an Anglo-Saxon environment.
His artistic studies at the University of Deacon led to his discovery of Western art. Thus, after having started painting in traditional aboriginal style like his grandfather Albert Namatjira, he developed a personal technique. It involved a synthesis of patterns inherited from the Aboriginal tradition and Western styles - especially those for decorative arts.
With this Walangari Karntawarra Jakamarra is quite representative of the art called "urban" practiced by the children from the stolen generation. Appropriation which is sometimes very critical of Western art and is filled with pride in a culture which others sought to disregard. Thus this canvas, palette and style evoke "liberty" drawings from Western decorative arts combined with traditional motifs.
These consist mainly of lines evoking body paint: concentric circles symbolizing sacred sites; water points often served as a stage for Ancestors of the Dreamtime (the mythical time of the work creation according to Aborigines ); U shapes isolated or in groups (either alone or accompanied by an I) designate the initiated; initiated flanked by digging sticks which plant and harvest roots and tubers; symbols and survival gages in the desert; traces of animals which we see their footprints such as those with three fingers for an emu.
This way of symbolically populating the canvas’s universe allows the artist to convene on the bottom a sort of map of the desert seen from the sky (called satellite view ) in multiple temporal layers. This site in evoked in the past and still alive with ancestral ceremonies introducing Dreamtime or the Great Ancestors - spirits , humans or animals - out of the original magma crossing the desert and forming their image.
The painting entitled "the dream of the seven sisters" is also explicitly placed under the sign of the ancestral deities who presided over the origins of the world. Therefore, almost during the same time of creation the artist is helped. The traditional designs fit on the moving background of the canvas in the manner of primitive atoms or molecules in the process of associating to give life.