By Chern’ee Sutton
Age – 21 years
Size – 61cm x 31cm high
Medium – Acrylic and raised acrylic on canvas
Seven Sisters - Malkanuru
My name is Chern’ee Sutton and I am a contemporary Indigenous artist from the Kalkadoon people from the Mount Isa area in Queensland. This painting is my interpretation of Malkanuru which means The Seven Sisters in the Kalkadoon language.
Long ago in the dreamtime there were seven beautiful sisters who were known as ‘Malkanuru” and whose beauty was unmatched by any living creature. They were born from the night sky and they wandered the lands and skies with their long flowing hair floating behind them, their beauty was such that every man who gazed at them fell in love and lusted after them. Every attempt by man to marry the sisters was fruitless as they came from the night sky and their hearts were as cold as ice.
One day a man wanted to take one of the sisters for his wife but knew the only way he could do this was to capture one of them so he hid in a conker berry bush and waited. The sisters came down from the night sky and were hunting and gathering bush foods as they always did and when one of the sisters went to the conker berry bush to collect food the man jumped out and captured her. The other six sisters searched everywhere and wandered the land trying to find their lost sister and it was during this time when they were weak and defenceless that they were overcome and the aboriginal tribes of Australia were created. Not able to find their sister they returned to the night sky never to return again. The man who had been hiding the seventh sister in a cave could not persuade the sister to marry him so he tied her to a tree and lit a fire with the man thinking if only he could melt the ice from her heart she would surely love him.
After a while as the ice melted it put out the fire leaving the man infuriated and while he was busy cursing the fire the sister escaped her bonds and returned to the stars above where her sisters waited for her. There they remain to this day shining brightly in the night sky above still showing all man their beauty. The seventh sister does not shine as brightly as she once did as her heart has been melted.