Australian Aboriginal Art - Janet Forrester Nangala
(1936-)

Milky Way Dreaming is a skyscape depicting the soft glowing stars and dark patches of the Milky Way. In the Australian desert there is little light pollution, so the skies are richer and more enthralling than in the cities. The Milky Way is considered by the aborigines as a visual representation of the microcosm within.

Most of the stars in the heavens have stories associated with their origins. It is believed that the stars and planets were once people and animals in the Creation Time. This is a painting of the story of the seven sisters, which were the mythological sisters of the Tjukurrpa. The seven sisters are being pursued by a Jakamarra man named Jilbi, the morning star in Orion's belt. In a final attempt to escape Jakamarra, the women turn into fire at Kurlunyalimpa and ascend to the heavens to become stars. Today they can still be seen wandering the skies as the seven stars in the constellation Taurus (Pleiades).

The artist's name has several spellings, including Nangala, Ngala, and Nala.

For another depiction of Milky Way Dreaming, see the painting by Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi.


Milky Way Dreaming 1998, acrylic on canvas 122 x 93 cm

Honey Ant Dreaming is a painting depicting a sweet insect called the Honey Ant. This insect stores sucrose in its abdomen and is used by the aborigines as a source of sucrose. The sacred aspect of the story depicted by this painting has not been revealed.


Honey Ant Dreaming 1986, acrylic on canvas


Enlargement of Honey Ant Dreaming