Chern'ee Sutton

Couple, 2018

Acrylic on canvas  
152 x 121 cm

A Dreamtime story about the Carpet Snake My name is Chern’ee Sutton and I am a contemporary Indigenous artist from the Kalkadoon people from Mount Isa in Queensland. This painting is called “Couple” and this Dreamtime story was told to me by Uncle Raymond “Willie” Broome from the Taribelang Bunda people in Bundaberg. Back in the dreamtime “Couple” was the greatest warrior and the fastest hunter in the land. He could run fast like “Moi” the emu and “Buru” the Kangaroo. Despite only being allowed to hunt in his own territory, one day he decided to explore a bit further onto the neighbouring tribe’s land, to explore the mountains. While exploring on the other tribes land he came across a group of girls who were laughing and having a good time splashing in the Boorool Boorool River (Burnett River). As he hid in the grass and watched the sisters have a good time he fell madly in love with the youngest of the girls. On returning to his own country he told his elders of the love he had for this girl from another tribe. The elders told him that it was wrong to go onto someone else’s country and not to go up there again unless he was invited. He explained that he didn’t care because he was so in love with this girl that he wanted to bring her back home with him. The elders tried to explain to him that the girl’s father, who was a fierce warrior, lived up in the mountains, where no one could reach him and that he had a cave full of weapons. If anyone tried to touch his daughters he would kill them. Couple was so much in love with this girl that he decided he would go up to the mountain anyway and ask the girl’s father for his daughters hand in marriage and for permission to take her back to his land. The father didn’t like this and a big fight broke out. Couple was eventually able to overpower the girl’s father, so he surrendered and gave him permission to marry his daughter. So Couple brought her back down the Boorool Boorool River to his country where he was finally able to marry her. For quite some time they were happily married but as time went on she pined for her family. She missed her sisters and her country. So she would go to the edge of the river, which would lead her back to her home and look into the water and cry for her family. Couple tried for a long time to console and encourage her to stay with him but her heart was full for her family and her need to go back to her country was too strong. So she jumped into the water and turned into a lung fish and swam back up the river to be with her family. Couple missed her terribly so he waited and waited by the edge of the river for her to come back but she would never return. Couple, who was the fastest and greatest warrior on the land, began to become slower and slower. Knowing that he had done the wrong thing and that she would never return to him, he was heartbroken. It was because of his broken heart that he turned into a carpet snake. So today, the reason why the carpet snake is slowest of all the snakes is because he has a broken heart and he was punished for doing the wrong thing. To this day if you look close enough you can still see Couple in the tail of the carpet snake and also his wife in the tail of the lung fish.


AUD 8,000.00

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