Melisha Possum Nungurrayi
Melisha Possum is a proud Anmatyerre woman who is maintaining her family's rich artistic heritage through her own hand. She is the third generation of artists in her family, with her grandfather being trailblazing artist, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. Clifford is one of the most renowned of the founding group of Papunya painters from the 1970s, which is considered the 'birthplace' of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement.
Melisha's mother, Michelle Possum Nungurrayi, was taught to paint by her father Clifford. Michelle is also a highly sought after artist, represented in major collections within Australia and Internationally. Michelle's works are colourful and dramatic in style, depicting the dreaming stories and women's ceremonial activities of her paternal grandmother Long Rose Nungala, combined with the bold and precise imaging of her father's works.
Michelle's inherited Dreaming stories are now being handed over to her children. It demonstrates the importance of preserving culture through the handing down of culturally important stories from generation to generation, and the powerful role art can play in keeping culture strong.
Melisha depicts Women's ceremonial sites surrounding the traditional homelands of her family, as well as Seven Sisters Dreaming, which depicts the story of the seven ancestral Napaljarri sisters. An ancestral Jakamarra man was in love with the seven Napaljarri sisters and chased them. In a final attempt to escape from the Jakamarra, the sisters turned themselves into fire and ascended to the heavens to become stars. The seven Napaljarri sisters can be found in the night sky today as a cluster of seven stars that is part of the constellation of Taurus. The morning star is the Jakamarra man, still chasing the Napaljarri sisters across the night sky.
Strong iconographic elements stand out from a highly descriptive background of dotting. She has an intuitive sense of colour and balance in her work, and we look forward to what the future holds. Melisha currently lives with her mother in Melbourne.
Copyright Kate Owen Gallery, March 2023