Weaving the night sky

works by Bev Coe, Mary Dargin Wighton, Sharon Dargin, Charmain Coe and Zannette Coe for Condo SkyFest 2019, Wiradjuri Study Centre, Condobolin

After the success of their 2018 SkyFest exhibition, Seven Sistas Weavings, Bev Coe and the fibre artists of the Condo SistaShed have again drawn inspiration from ancestral sky stories for their 2019 show.

In 2018 they created a giant Gugurmin, the Celestial Emu who emerges from the dust clouds of the Milky Way; the Mulayndynang, or Seven Sisters of the Pleiades star cluster in the constellation Taurus, The Bull; and Maliyan, the Wedge-tailed Eagle who can be seen in the constellation known as Aquila on the celestial equator (the star Altair is his all-seeing eye).

This year, Bev has extended the Seven Sisters story by adding a wild-looking papier maché ‘bad guy’, The Hunter, who, as the constellation Orion, chases the Seven Sisters across the night sky.

Mary, Sharon, Charmain and Zannette have woven new Wiradjuri constellation characters, including Gugaa, the heavenly goanna who manifests himself as the constellation Scorpius (with the star Antares as his heart); and a flight of kookaburras (Guguburra lives in Yarran-Doo, the heavenly tree also known as the Southern Cross).

The Sistas are committed to using their creative skills to ensure that ancestral sky stories which have survived the impacts of colonisation are passed on to their children and grandchildren and are never forgotten. They have also discovered that their regular weaving sessions at the SistaShed make them healthier and happier people.

Weaving the Night Sky was opened by Shirley Ann Merritt, Community-based Services Manager, Condobolin Community Health, on Saturday 19 October, as part of SkyFest 2019.

The Exhibition

Mulayndynang (Seven Sisters) Dreaming corner

Skystory: A hunter desires seven Wiradjuri sisters and chases them all over their Country and beyond. They try to trick him and hide from him, but the only way they can escape is to leap into the sky to become the stars of the cluster now known as the Pleiades. Seven Sisters Ridge near Yarrabandai is probably a knowledge site associated with this Dreaming.

Seven Sisters Star Cluster, the heavenly manifestation of the Seven Girls (raffia, reinforcement steel) by Bev Coe (2018)

Woven sculptures of Mulayndynang being chased by The Hunter (raffia, bark, wood and other fibres) by Bev Coe, Zannette Coe, Charmaine Coe, Mary Dargin Wighton, Sharon Dargin, Anita Johnson, and Maryanne Parker (2018)

The Mulayndynang fleeing The Hunter (acrylic on large canvas) by Bev Coe (2019)

The Mulayndynang as stars (acrylic on small canvas) by Bev Coe

The Hunter (papier maché, chicken wire, wood, hand dyed wool, jute) by Bev Coe

Other Wiradjuri Constellations

Gugurmin the Celestial Emu  (Milky Way) by Bev Coe, Mary Dargin Wighton, Charmaine Coe, Sharon Dargin, Mary Parker, Zannette Coe, Aleesha Goolagong, Aunty Shirley Merritt (raffia and steel)

Skystory: Gugurmin, the Celestial Emu, lives in the dark clouds and dust lanes of the Milky Way. His movement tells his people about the changing seasons and what food is available

Maliyan, the Wedge-tailed Eagle  (Aquilla constellation) byBev Coe, Charmaine Coe, Mary Dargin-Wighton, Aunty Shirl Merritt (2018)

Gugaa the Goanna (Scorpius constellation) by Charmaine Coe (2019)

Guguburra, the Kookaburras by Sharon Dargin and Mary Dargin-Wighton

Yolgnu skystory

The Fish and The Canoe (Orion’s Belt) by Bev Coe (2019)

Skystory: Three Yolgnu brothers go fishing and catch a fish forbidden to them under Yolgnu law. As punishment, they are sent into the sky to become the stars we know as Orion’s Belt

Page created 6 April 2020

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