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By Jesse Sutton
Age – 15 years
Size – 60cm x 60cm
Medium – Acrylic and raised acrylic on canvas

Black Bream - Mankala

My name is Jesse Sutton and I am a contemporary Indigenous artist from the Kalkadoon people from the Mount Isa area in Queensland. This is my interpretation and story of “Mankala” which means in the Kalkadoon language “Black Bream”.

This painting tells the story of how after many years of drought a young Kalkadoon warrior saved the life of Mankala the last black bream in Kalkadoon country. He travelled for many days to place Mankala in the last large waterhole in the North of Kalkadoon country. Mankala told the warrior to come back after the rains had flooded the lands and she would give him a special gift for the Kalkadoon people. Mankala gave birth to many young and when the rains and floods came the baby black bream repopulated the rivers and waterholes and when the warrior returned Mankala threw a small coloured rock at the young warrior and said whenever you hold this rock under the surface of the water and sing “Watharranti, Munthingka” (Come out, Come this way) my brothers and sisters will sacrifice their lives for the Kalkadoon people and will float to the surface so you can have food and nourishment, but don’t be greedy only take what you need.

To this day Mankala swims in his river and waterholes until he sacrifices his life for the Kalkadoon people.


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