By Chern’ee Sutton
Age – 22 years
Size – 152cm wide X 122cm high
Medium – 3D Acrylic and textured acrylic on canvas
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 called “Milumanu” which means “Sleepy Lizard” in the Kalkadoon language.
Long, Long ago there lived a very lazy lizard named Milumanu. He was a warm blooded lizard that lazed around in the shade all day long sleeping and hiding in the bushes. He was no help at all to all the other lizards that were part of his family and would not even collect food but instead expected all the other lizards to supply him with their food. Every night all the lizards would ask Milumanu why he was so lazy and sleepy all the time and he would always answer as he ate their food because my blood is not like yours it is warm and the heat of the day would make me pass out if I were in the sun, I also have no defence against the other animals that would harm me so I have to hide in the bushes.
One night after all the lizards had had enough of Milumanu’s laziness, illipari the goanna who was the chief of all the lizards approached his friend and told him if he did not start to collect food like all the other lizards then he would have to leave their camp and fend for himself. Milumanu tried to go to sleep but was worried about the consequences of not helping out and finally drifted off to sleep wishing he could be different. During the night Unukari the wind spirit heard Milumanu’s cries for help and decided to grant him his wish to be different and be part of the lizard family.
When Milumanu awoke in the morning he felt like he had not slept at all, he felt cold and could barely move his body along the ground. On his way to his favourite sleeping bush he passed through the suns rays and suddenly felt full of life and energy. As he moved closer to the bush a large snake poked his head out and went to eat Milumanu who terrified opened his mouth to scream and was surprised to find that he had a frilled neck and was now scaring the snake who hastily retreated back to the bushes.
Milumanu wanted to tell all the other lizards that were walking past about his new defence but they kept on walking straight past him until he also realised that he could now blend into the country with his new camouflage and not be seen. That night when all the other lizards brought in their catch of insects for the day Milumanu entered the camp with the most insects any had ever collected before and proudly told of his new defences and cold blood and that from now on he was the fastest and best hunter of all and would always share his catch with those that had looked after him for so long.
He is now known as the frilled neck lizard and is the fastest of all lizards running on two legs to catch his prey.