Wiradjuri constellations at Cementa17

Filed : Big Skies Collaboration (including Skywriters), Projects .

Big Skies Collaboration: Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney’s illustrated representations of Wiradjuri constellations were exhibited at Cementa17

In 2016 Cultural astronomer Trevor Leaman commissioned Wiradjuri artist Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney, from Peak Hill, to create a set of graphic representations of his people’s star constellations, as part of Trevor’s own Wiradjuri Cultural Astronomy Project.

The commission was supported by  Arts OutWest through funding from the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, and by Local Land Services Central Tablelands, and is one element of the larger, regional Big Skies Collaboration.

The full set of constellation images were exhibited in public for the first time at the Cementa Biennial Festival of Contemporary Art at Kandos NSW (April 6-9, 2017).

Wiradjuri Murriyang means Wiradjuri Sky World. This is where Baiame, the great creator lives. Scott has created images based 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 doesn’t copy the original marks on trees because they are linked to ceremony. He uses these traditional marks as a guide to his contemporary graphic work

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
  • 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, or Yarran-Du (The 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 the Southern Cross


ABC Central West captured an interactive 360′ video of the installation and other highlights of Cementa:

360° views of Cementa contemporary art festival at Kandos, NSW.

Take a quick 360° look around a handful of the works and performances from this year's Cementa contemporary arts festival held in Kandos, NSW, over the weekend.Works in this video include:1. Wiradjuri Murriyang (Wiradjuri Sky World) by Scott 'Sauce' Towney of Peak Hill, NSW.The work featured a large inflated dome that viewers could sit inside and witness a 360° digital projection of Indigenous astronomical constellations. 2. Chop Dig Chanty – a performance artwork by Sash Catts of Sydney and Mark Shorter of Melbourne exploring the bygone sounds of manual labour through wood chopping and digging.3. Public Figures Series #1 Kandos Edition – peeping through a shop window, viewers watched Sydney artist Andrew Christie as he hand-painted miniature, 3D-printed figurines depicting Kandos locals. 4. OzScot dancers – choreographed by Cheryl Roach OAM – performed to a crowd on the Saturday evening at the Red Tennis Court venue in Kandos.#cementa17

Posted by ABC Central West on Monday, 10 April 2017


Artist Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney (in green shirt) with Big Skies Collaborator Christine McMillan, film-maker Dave Towney, and cultural astronomer Trevor Leaman, in the main street of Peak Hill after our meeting to discuss the constellation artwork . Photo by Merrill Findlay,  2016.

Sauce’s images are also installed on Stellarium, a free planetarium program people can download to their home computers or other devices. More details on accessing Stellarium here >>. They will also be used by Wiradjuri communities for educational purposes.


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 funded and supported by Grants from the Central Tablelands Local Lands Services (NSW) and Regional Arts Fund (Regional Arts NSW); and Western Sydney University Observatory team for loan of the dome. The Dome Project is linked to the Big Skies Collaboration: creatively celebrating people’s connections with the cosmos in southeastern Australia’s rural inland www.bigskiescollaboration.wordpress.com

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