Marlene Coombes was born at Oodnadatta which is in the north-east of South Australia. Marlene comes from a very large family, the fourth child of fourteen children. Marlene speaks both Luritja and Arrente language and English. Marlene began painting in 1987. Her Dreamings include Bush Banana, Witchetty Grub, Flying Fox, Honey Ant and Milky Way Dreaming. Marlene was greatly influenced by her Aunt Janet Forrester Ngala who paints many of the same subjects.
Aboriginal people believe the stars in the sky have stories associated with their origin. It is believed that the stars and planets were once people and animals from the Creation time. The milky way stories are often a part of the seven sisters narrative where seven sisters are chased across the sky by a malevolent figure, creating landforms and sacred sites as they go.
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