Anmanari Brown / Pitjantjatjarra people / Australia b.c.1932 / Kungkarrakalpa Tjukurrpa (Seven Sister Dreaming) 2002 / Synthetic polymer paint on canvas / 182 x 232cm / Purchased 2002 with funds from the Estate of Betty Taylor through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Anmanari Brown

Anmanari Brown
Kungkarrakalpa tjukurrpa (seven sister dreaming) 2002

On Display: QAG, Gallery 2

Kungkarrakalpa Tjukurrpa (Seven Sister Dreaming) 2002 represents an important ancestral story of the Western Desert. In contrast to the minimalist tones of some contemporary painting from the Western Desert, Anmanari Brown revels in colour.

This vibrant painting depicts the story of the Seven Sisters — almost certainly the blue ‘U’ shapes clustered around the red rock hole at the top of the painting — who are looking for Kuniya, an ancestral carpet python. Colour and shape convey the narrative, while pattern and line indicate the tracks of the journey.

Anmanari Brown was born at Purpurna, Western Australia, in the early 1930s. As a young girl, she travelled with her family through central Australia before settling at Warburton mission, a semi-desert area between the Gibson Desert to the north-west and the Great Victoria Desert to the south-east, some 1500 kilometres by road from Perth.

In her paintings, Brown largely depicts the Kungkarrakalpa Tjukurrpa (Seven Sisters Dreaming); her connection with this dreaming comes from her mother’s family. Brown now lives and works in the Papulankutja community, which is situated at the border of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory: she is one of the most senior artists of this region.

Her work reflects a deep knowledge of the landscape and its mythology, as well as a proud ownership of the land.

Discussion Questions

1. This painting tells a dreaming story about the journeys of the important ancestral beings from the Western Desert region of Australia. Anmanari Brown uses distinctive shapes and bright colours to tell her story. Look closely at the painting: can you name all the colours you can see?

2. The artist has painted blue ‘U’ shapes to represent the mythical sisters in this story. Can you see the sisters gathered around a red rock hole towards the top of the painting? Why do you think the colour blue was chosen to represent the sisters?

Classroom Activities

1. Make an artwork to tell the story of a journey you often take. Use colour, line and simple shapes to show the path you follow. What colours and shapes will you choose to represent the land, the people and the objects in your story? Share the story of your artwork with the class.

2. Colour is often used by artists to depict feelings, moods and personalities. Choose a person you wish to depict in an artwork. Draw a shape to represent this person and paint the shape in a colour that reflects their personality. Add tones to your chosen colour and incorporate patterns. Display the paintings of your class by arranging them according to the colour spectrum.