|The Seven Sisters
About Rene Kulitja
Rene grew up in Ernabella and Amata in the north of South Australia before marrying and moving to Docker River and later Mutitjulu. Her parents Walter Pukutiwara and Topsy Tjulyata, were acclaimed wood carvers and founders of Maruku Arts. Rene is a member of the NPY Women’s Council Executive, the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir and a past member of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Joint Management. Rene was also a founding director of Walkatjara Art and a current director and previous chair of Maruku. Rene spends much of her time travelling as both artist and advocate for her people.
Paintings depict the Tjukurpa, the Law and stories of Ancestors. Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) have responsibilities for the protection and teaching of different Tjukurpa and there are strict protocols for the imparting of knowledge. The doting technique has evolved with the need to adapt sacred expressions of Tjukurpa for public viewing and as a depiction of the desert landscape. Kungkarangkalpa is the Tjukurpa of the Seven Sisters, concerning a group of women being pursued by a cunning man called Nyiru who attempts to lure them into marriage with him. He disguises himself in countless ways to trick the sisters, and is sometimes also invisible in paintings. In their escape the sisters travelled through a vast amount of Australia. They stopped to camp, build shelters and hunt for food, thus forming many features of the landscape and embedding the knowledge of survival in it. Eventually they fled into the sky where they became the constellation known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. Nyiru still follows them ceaselessly across the night sky as one of the bright stars in the constellation of Orion.