This is a major Tjukurpa for Irrunytju (Wingellina) and across the central Australian deserts. The seven sisters travelled from Kaliwarra to Wannan in Western Australia, stopping at significant sites and rockholes including Kuru Ala, a sacred place for women. They encountered a lustful man named Wati Nyiru, who chased them around the desert. Some of the details of this Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) are sacred and can’t be repeated.
About the Artist
Melissa Donegan was born in 1969 at the Warburton Ranges of Western Australia. She is the oldest daughter of renowned artist Jimmy Donegan. As a young girl she lived in Amata where her father worked as a stockman. During the late 1970s and the “Homeland Movement”, her and her family moved to Pipalyatjara to be closer to traditional home lands. Like many other Anangu (people of Pitjantjatjara land) families, Melissa’s moved frequently between the communities of Irrunytju, Pipalyatjara and Amata.
As an adult she moved to Blackstone, a remote community in Western Australia. It was in Blackstone where she began her career as a painter and was involved in crafting the ‘Tjanpi Toyota’; a life size replica of a Toyota Landcruiser made from woven grass. The Tjanpi Toyota was a project she worked on alongside her mother and sister, which won the Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2005.
Today Melissa lives with her family in Kalka where she continues to paint. Her paintings are often inspired by ‘tjukurpa’ (traditional stories), including those associated with ‘Wati Kutjarra’ and ‘Kungkarrakalpa’. She is also a dedicated arts worker at Ninuku Arts Centre.