If anyone is going to have a history of night sky art, it will be the Indigenous people of Australia. Considered to be the oldest astronomers in the world, they’ve spent millennia looking up and seeing patterns and images ripe for reinterpretation into the nature they knew. The distinctive artistic style and the subject matter are inspired choices for a coin series, particularly from a mint with such a fine recent history of astronomy coins.
The first issue back in May featured the ‘Emu in the Sky’ and was a pretty design that brought something new to the genre. The second issue is now here and has turned its attention to the famous ‘The Seven Sisters’, more accurately known as The Pleiades, an open star cluster in the NW of the constellation Taurus. The nearest Messier object to Earth it is very bright in the night sky, helped by its composition of relatively young (~100m years) hot blue and luminous stars. It’s hardly surprising that the early Aboriginal peoples took such notice of it.
The style used for the coin follows that initiated by artist Scott Towney, but this time it’s been designed by Wajarri-Noongar artist Christine ‘Jugarnu’ Collard. What do we think? We liked the first issue, and this one is quite superb. The pointillism-style coloured section works in perfect symbiosis with Aboriginal art to create something unique and attractive, while still managing to get the message over as to what the subject is.