Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters is the first exhibition of its kind, attempting to tell in an exhibition space an Indigenous founding narrative by using Indigenous ways of passing on knowledge.
The project was inspired by an investigative collaboration between senior custodians of Martu country and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) and Ngaanyatjarra lands of Australia's Central and Western deserts, along with the National Museum of Australia, the Australian National University and other partners. More on the community collaboration in our Museum news
The curatorium comprises community nominated representatives with senior status from Martu country and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) and Ngaanyatjarra lands. They are not a reference or advisory group, but knowledge holders of the cultural material in this exhibition and directed its representation in collaboration with the Museum. A small group of spokespersons reported on matters concerning the wider group.
Alison Milyika Carroll (APY)
Alison is a leading ceramic artist at Ernabella Arts, a performer, leader and spokesperson for Anangu Pitjantjatjara artists.
Tapaya Edwards (APY)
Tapaya has exceptional skill and knowledge of inma. He has represented the APY Lands in national conferences and regularly performs with CARCLEW cultural organisation. He also works as a teacher at Amata primary school.
Murray George (APY)
Murray is a senior law man from the APY Lands, chair of the APY Law and Culture Committee, and a member of the APY Executive Board. He was formerly a board member of Ananguku Arts.
Kumpaya Girgirba (Martu)
Kumpaya is a senior artist from Parnngurr, represented by Martumili Artists. She is a custodian for the Minyipuru Jukurrpa and is deferred to by her community in all cultural matters.
Rene Kulitja (APY)
Rene is an important community leader. She is also an artist working across different media. Probably her most famous design, Yananyi Dreaming, adorns a Qantas Boeing 737.
Pantjiti Lewis (APY)
Pantjiti is a health worker in Ernabella, a performer of the inma and an accomplished artist working in ceramics, painting and fibre art.
Pantjiti McKenzie (APY)
Pantjiti is a senior law woman and respected artist working in a variety of media. Pantjiti is also a ngangkari (traditional healer).
Josephine Mick (APY)
Josephine is a senior community leader and custodian of the Seven Sisters songline. She is an artist and a ngangkari (traditional healer).
Anawari Inpiti Mitchell (Ngaanyatjarra)
Anawari is an artist and community leader and an outspoken representative of her community. She is a custodian of the Seven Sisters songline at Kuru Ala.
Jennifer Nginyaka Mitchell (Ngaanyatjarra)
Jennifer is a senior artist at Papulankutja Arts. She is a custodian of the Seven Sisters songline at Kuru Ala and represents her community as a committee and board member.
Photo: Christane Keller, National Museum of Australia
Julie Porter (Ngaanyatjarra)
Julie worked for the majority of her life as a health worker in Warburton. She is a custodian of the Seven Sisters songline at Kulyuru.
Kanu Nancy Taylor (Martu)
Kanu is a senior artist represented by Martumili Artists, and a spokesperson for her people. She also works for Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa in Parnngurr.
Muuki Taylor (Martu)
Muuki is a senior artist from Parnngurr. He is a strong community leader and is the senior cultural advisor for Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa.
Ngalangka Nola Taylor (Martu)
Nola is a senior artist, translator and advisor for Martu people. She also works for Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa.
Lalla West (Ngaanyatjarra)
Lalla is a senior artist with the Warburton Arts Project. She is a custodian of the Seven Sisters songline at Kulyuru.
Inawinytji Williamson (APY)
Inawinytji is a senior community leader. She cofounded Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation in 1995 and is a trustee of the Palya Fund. Inawinytji is also an artist represented by Ernabella Arts.
Tjutjuna Paul Andy (APY)
Paul is a senior artist represented by Ernabella Arts. He is on the board of Ernabella Arts and Chair of Ananguku Arts.
Major exhibition partner, elders and supporters
Thank you to our major exhibition partner The Scully Fund, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) elders and supporters, Ngaanyatjarra elders and supporters, and Martu elders and supporters.
Martumili Artists, Maruku Arts, Minyma Kutjara Arts Project, Ninuku Arts, Papulankutja Artists, Spinifex Arts Project, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Tjungu Palya Arts, Warakurna Artists, Warburton Arts Project
Alive with the Dreaming! Songlines of the Western Desert partners
Australian Research Council, Australian National University, Ananguku Arts, Australian Heritage Management Solutions (AHMS), Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC), National Museum of Australia, the Australian Government and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, University of New England (collaborating organisation)
Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara, Artback NT, Desart, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ), Country Needs People
Travelling Kungkarangkalpa is staged in DomeLab, a collaboration between the University of New South Wales and the National Museum of Australia, together with nine other tertiary and cultural organisations. It is funded as part of an Australian Research Council LIEF grant (2015) led by chief investigator Professor Sarah Kenderdine.
Cave Hill Project
The Cave Hill Project is a joint initiative of APY, the Cave Hill Custodians, National Museum of Australia and the Australian National University on behalf of the Songlines Project ARC Partners and they were supported through funding from the Australian Research Council.
Editorial note and glossary
This website presents word forms, object titles, cultural affiliations and names as advised by the communities and individuals involved in the exhibition. For different language groups, variant spellings occur for similar words, cultural groups or names. The Museum acknowledges that some of the Ngaanyatjarra speakers in this book identify as coming from Ngaatjatjarra Lands.
Commonly used terms include: inma for ceremony/ceremonial song and dance; Jukurrpa/Tjukurpa/Tjukurrpa for Dreaming; Kampukurta for the eldest sister; Minyipuru/Kungkarangkalpa/Kungkarrangkalpa for the Seven Sisters; ngurra/ngura for home, camp, traditional lands; pujiman for traditional bush/desert life; walka for design; Yurla/Wati Nyiru for the male Ancestral being who pursues the Seven Sisters.