Wiradjuri Constellation Art

In 2016 cultural astronomer and Big Skies Collaborator Trevor Leaman commissioned Wiradjuri artist Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney, from Peak Hill, to create a set of graphic representations of Wiradjuri Murriyang, the Wiradjuri Skyworld, as part of his  Wiradjuri Cultural Astronomy Project.

scotttowneydiscussesconstellationart_peakhill-2016-imgp6416.jpg
Commissioning Wiradjuri Murriyang: Peak Hill artist Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney (standing) discusses the project with cultural astronomer Trevor Leaman (centre) flanked by artist Christine McMillan and Wiradjuri filmmaker Dave Towney in a Peak Hill cafe. Photo by Merrill Findlay, 2016.

The commission was supported by Local Land Services Central Tablelands, and our partner organisation, Arts OutWest, through funding from the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, as part of our Big Skies Collaboration.

Wiradjuri Murriyang is where Baiame, the great creator lives. Scott based the images on his own cultural interpretation of the Wiradjuri constellations as described in archival narratives researched by Trevor Leaman. Trevor has placed the constellation artworks in the Murriyang in relation to these narratives. Wiradjuri patterns and mark-making in the work are contemporary. Scott does not copy original carvings, or dendroglyphs (see below) because these are linked to Ceremony. Instead, he uses these traditional patterns as guides for his own contemporary graphics work.

Scott Towney’s Wiradjuri Murriyang images are now being published and viewed all over the world. See, for example, cultural astronomer Duane Hamacher’s article, ‘Kindred skies: ancient Greeks and Aboriginal Australians saw constellations in common‘, in The Conversation, 10 April 2017, which also draws on Trevor’s Leaman’s Wiradjuri Astronomy Project.  In 2017 they were exhibited as an installation at Cementa17 and in the town of Parkes, as you can see below. The framed images are now available for exhibition at other venues.

WIRADJURI MURRIYANG ON PUBLIC DISPLAY IN PEAK HILL

WallInstallation@PeakHill_Sept2017_DSC04298
Scott Towney’s Wiradjuri Skyworld constellation images were displayed on the Community Cultural Wall of his hometown, Peak Hill, for Reconciliation Week 2017. Photo by Merrill Findlay, September 2017, for the Big Skies Collaboration.

WIRADJURI MURRIYANG EXHIBITIONS
Download the catalogue here >> [pdf 348KB]

The full set of constellation images were exhibited in public for the first time as a Stellarium projection, part of Christine McMillan‘s Dome Project, at the Cementa Biennial Festival of Contemporary Art in Kandos, NSW, in April 2017.

WiradjuriConstellationInstallationCementa2017_DSC02813
Scott Towney’s Wiradjuri Murriyang installation at Cementa2017 was driven by Stellarium, a free planetarium program installed on a laptop inside the Kandos community hall. Photo by Merrill Findlay.
WiradjuriConstellationArt_Cementa2017_DSC02815
Audience observing the Wiradjuri constellations rising and setting inside the blow-up planetarium dome at Cementa2017. Photo by Merrill Findlay.

The Wiradjuri Murriyang images were later framed and exhibited at the Skywriters Project‘s first Big Gig in Parkes Shire Council’s Coventry Room, on 8-9  July 2017. They remained on the wall for the Central West Astronomical Society’s Astrofest the following weekend. This was the first of what we hope will be many such exhibitions of this culturally important collection.

ScottTowney@hisSkywritersExhibition_Parkes9July_©MerrillFindlay_DSC03340
Artist Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney contemplates his images in the Coventry Room, Parkes, July 2017.
WiradjuriAstronomy_Parkes_9July2017_DSC03337
Cultural astronomer Trevor Leaman explains the astronomical significance of the images at the Parkes exhibition and recounts some of the traditional Wiradjuri star stories he has recovered through his research. This exhibition was especially important to the many Wiradjuri people who attended it.
WiradjuriAstronomy_Parkes_9July2017_DSC03356
WIN TV News cameraman interviews Trevor Leaman about his research and the significance of Scott Towney’s artworks. The TV vision was broadcasted on WIN Central West’s local news on 10 July. Photos by Merrill Findlay for the Skywriters Project.

Images include:
Mulayndynang, or The Seven Sisters, the star cluster also known as the Pleiades
Biame, The Great Creator, also known as Orion
Wawi, The Rainbow Serpent, the formation also known as the Milky Way, which also represents the celestial river
Gugurmin, The Celestial Emu, the dark space in the Milky Way
Guggaa, The Tree Goanna, also known as Scorpius
Guguburra, The Kookaburra, or Corona Australis
Waagan, The Crow, or Canopus
Mouyi, The Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, also known as The Southern Pointers, or Alpha and Beta Centauri, which guide our eyes to the constellation Crux (Southern Cross)
Maliyan, The Wedge-Tailed Eagle, or the constellation Aquila, the Latin word for Eagle
Maliyan Nngubaanbukarr, The Wife of Maliyan, or the constellation Lyra
Maliyan Wollai, The Eagles’ Nest, or Corona Borealis
Yarran-Do, the Yarran Tree, or Crux, the Southern Cross

AstroFest2017_Parkes_BradTucker_DSC03408_SML
Wiradjuri visitors from Condobolin Faith Richards, Tanya Atkinson, and Janine Richards, with Rebecca Shepherd (Condobolin), Ellie Gilbert (Canberra) and Merrill Findlay (Forbes) at the Parkes exhibition of Wiradjuri Murriyang. Photo for the Skywriters Project, 8 July 2017.
BradTucker@CWS-Astrofest2017-DSC03408
ANU Astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker and Parkes writer Lyn Everingham at the Central West Astronomical Society’s Astrofest in Parkes, 15 July 2017, with the Wiradjuri Murriyang images. Photo by Merrill Findlay.
DavidMalin@CWAS-AstroFest2017_DSC03411
Astronomer and astrophotographer Dr David Malin admires Scott Towney’s representation of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades star cluster at the Parkes Astrofest, 15 July 2017. Photo by Merrill Findlay.

WIRADJURI MURRIYANG IMAGES FOR STELLARIUM
You’ll find instructions for accessing the Wiradjuri constellations on Stellarium here >>

Scott Towney's representation of Mulayndynang, or the Seven Sisters, the star cluster also known as the Pleiades, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney’s representation of Mulayndynang, or the Seven Sisters, the star cluster also known as the Pleiades, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney's representation of the Wiradjuri constellation Biame, The Great Creator, also known as Orion, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney’s representation of the Wiradjuri constellation Biame, The Great Creator, also known as Orion, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Wiradjuri artist Scott Towney's representation of Wawi, the Rainbow Serpent, the formation also known as the Milky Way, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Wiradjuri artist Scott Towney’s representation of Wawi, the Rainbow Serpent, the formation also known as the Milky Way, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Wiradjuri artist Scott Towney's representation of Gugurmin, the Celestial Emu, the dark space in the Milky Way, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Wiradjuri artist Scott Towney’s representation of Gugurmin, the Celestial Emu, the dark space in the Milky Way, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney's representation of Guggaa the Tree Goanna, also known as Scorpius, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney’s representation of Guggaa the Tree Goanna, also known as Scorpius, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney's representation of Guguburra, the Kookaburra, or Corona Australis, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney’s representation of Guguburra, the Kookaburra, or Corona Australis, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney's representation of Waagan, the Crow, or Canopus, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney’s representation of Waagan, the Crow, or Canopus, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney's representation of Mouyi, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, also known as The Southern Pointers, or Alpha and Beta Centauri, which guide our eyes to the constellation Crux, or the Southern Cross (Yarran-Du), for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney’s representation of Mouyi, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, also known as The Southern Pointers, or Alpha and Beta Centauri, which guide our eyes to the constellation Crux, or the Southern Cross (Yarran-Du), for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney's representation of Maliyan, The Wedge-Tailed Eagle, or the constellation Aquila, the Latin word for Eagle, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney’s representation of Maliyan, The Wedge-Tailed Eagle, or the constellation Aquila, the Latin word for Eagle, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney's representation of Maliyan Nngubaanbukarr, The Wife of Maliyan, or the constellation Lyra, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney’s representation of Maliyan Nngubaanbukarr, The Wife of Maliyan, or the constellation Lyra, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney's representation of Maliyan Wollai, The Eagles' Nest, or Corona Borealis, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Scott Towney’s representation of Maliyan Wollai, The Eagles’ Nest, or Corona Borealis, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Wiradjuri artist Scott Towney's representation of Yarran-Do, the Yarran Tree, or the Southern Cross, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
Wiradjuri artist Scott Towney’s representation of Yarran-Do, the Yarran Tree, or the Southern Cross, for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project. © Scott Towney 2017.
dendographyurinighsgravesite_nearpeakhill-imgp6475
An original dendroglyph or carved tree, like those Scott Towney used as models for his own creative work. This one marks the grave of Yuranigh, the Wiradjuri man who guided colonial surveyor Major Thomas Mitchell on his 1846 expedition.  It dates from around 1850, the year Yuranigh died and was buried according to his people’s traditional funerary rites. There were once many such carved trees in Wiradjuri Country. Photo by Merrill Findlay, 2016.

Acknowledgements
Constellation Artist: Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney
Wiradjuri Cultural Advisors: Larry Towney, David Towney, Dinawan Bill Allen, Gail Clark, Peter Ingram, James Ingram, Stan Grant (Snr)

We would like to acknowledge all Wiradjuri Elders, both past and present, for their knowledge and wisdom through the ages, and for passing this knowledge on to future generations.

This project was supported by grants from the Central Tablelands Local Lands Services (NSW) and Regional Arts Fund (Regional Arts NSW), with in-kind support from Western Sydney University Observatory team, which provided the dome for the Cementa installation; Parkes Shire Council, which made the Coventry Room available for the Parkes exhibition; Arts OutWest, which auspiced the RAF funding and hung the Parkes exhibition; and many other groups and individuals who gave their support when it was needed. Thank you.

Page restored 2 August 2017. Last updated 19 September 2017.

Permalink: bigskiescollaboration.wordpress.com/projects/wiradjuri-constellation-art

Advertisements