Artfully telling the story of the Seven Sisters Songline

Posted · Filed as Terra Rosa

Over the millennia art has been used to depict culturally significant subject matter, capture moments in time, or tell a historical story, using the power of visual image to ignite imaginations, evoke emotions and preserve the past for future generations.

We were recently proud to partner with Budadee Foundation to deliver the Minyiburru (Seven Sisters) Arts Project, illuminating the sacred heritage of the people and the land, and passing down the knowledge of the Seven Sisters songline.

The project, planned and coordinated by the Palyku Traditional Owners, with the Budadee Foundation and Terra Rosa working alongside as facilitators, was held at Garden Pool, near Nullagine, a sacred place for the Palyku people and strongly linked to the Seven Sisters Songline.
With funding from the Indigenous Language and Art Grants the event provided the opportunity for senior artists to mentor junior artists, practice traditional Palyku culture, share skills and hand down knowledge to the younger generations.

With a large canvas set up in the shade along the river, the project occurred over three days. All age groups, including children, were invited to participate in the group project or create individual pieces. Lucelle Francis, a senior artist, and LOTE teacher provided direction to other artists on how the painting would take shape, offering guidance on the content and colours that would create the artwork.

Taking inspiration from nature and the land, the cooler colours in the centre of the painting represented the water and the rivers branching out into warmer earthy colours; the end product depicting an amazing record of the Seven Sisters Songline.

Critically, the entirety of the project was documented, including the process and progression of the painting, and daily activities taking place at the pool. Interviews captured participants’ insights, including what the project was about, its significance, and what it meant for them to be involved. Ensuring these valuable moments are captured is vital for future generations and sharing with the broader community helps spread awareness of the project and Palyku’s heritage.

After a huge three-day effort from the artists and community, the painting was revealed at a community BBQ evening (sausages provided with thanks by Millennium Mining), where it received thunderous applause from the community and participants. A number of the smaller paintings were also displayed at the BBQ and purchased directly from the artists.

Terra Rosa Consulting was delighted to be part of such a wonderful experience and thank the Irrungadji community participants, and Budadee Foundation for the opportunity to be a part of this powerful cultural journey.