Brooke and Chern’ee working towards strong artistic future

Chern'ee and Brooke Sutton continue to share their stunning artwork and their culture.

By Angela Norval

Well-known Aboriginal artists Chern’ee and Brooke Sutton are sharing their own distinct and different styles throughout Australia and the world.

They’re proud of their culture and history and bring two worlds together – their traditional Aboriginal heritage and the bright, vibrant colours and shapes of modern Australia.

Brooke and Chern’ee were honoured to attend a private reception with Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey to celebrate the Bundaberg region and thank locals for their efforts to promote the region’s prosperity and advance the state.

Kalkadoon artist Brooke gave the Governor one of her signature seaside paintings as a gift from herself and the Bundaberg region.

The painting will travel back to Government House and will be placed on permanent display.

Brooke said it was such a privilege to meet Mr de Jersey and talk to him about her painting Wani Watina, which in the Kalkadoon language means ‘to play side by side”, which represented Bundaberg and the beautiful coastline and iconic turtles from Mon Repos.

“He absolutely loved the painting and said that he would hang it at Government House, which is amazing,” she said.

“It is a huge opportunity to have my art at Government House and to meet the Governor and is definitely one of the highlights of my career so far.

“I’ve had a lot of highlights throughout my career and I actually have a huge project being launched next month which I am really excited for, although I can’t reveal too much about it yet.”

Brooke and Chern’ee are both lucky to have their passion as their careers.

Chern’ee said they spend a lot of hours painting and when you are doing what you love, at times you get lost in your work.

“It’s a great form of therapy because when I used to have a bad day at school, I’d come home and get into my painting and it would just all melt away,” she said.

“It’s amazing that we get to express ourselves through our art and share our culture with the world, it makes us both extremely proud.

“Also we love to promote reconciliation through our art, I am constantly creating Reconciliation Action Plan paintings for businesses and organisations from around Australia, it is imperative that we all reconcile our differences to move forward.”

Chern’ee and Brooke often work on their own projects and paintings, although Chern’ee admitted to sometimes giving Brooke advice on her artworks.

But when they do collaborative artworks, they share ideas and try to give each other inspiration.

They are both looking forward to re-launching their combined exhibition at the Pullman and Mercure Hotel in King George Square Brisbane later this year.

It was supposed to be in April last year but was cancelled due to Covid, so they are both really looking forward to seeing the new paintings hanging in the hotel foyer.

The sisters can credit their amazing work in part to coming from a pretty creative family.

“Dad used to be a chef so he has some creativity there, while Mum always loved scrapbooking and making things with her hands and when we were little they always encouraged us to express ourselves through art and creativity, to make birthday and Christmas cards instead of buying them,” she said.

“We’ve always had a love for art and our culture ever since we were little.

“Add to that the Bundaberg region is a beautiful community that really has it all, we have perfect climate all year round, we have an abundance of beautiful plants and animals and are constantly surrounded by nature.

“We actually live out of town in the bush and are always getting inspiration from the beautiful plants and animals that we see every day, we also have the most beautiful coastline with our iconic turtles which gives us so much inspiration for our paintings.

“We also get a lot of inspiration from Kalkadoon Country in Mount Isa, with the stunning dessert colours and unique plants and animals.”

Wherever their inspiration takes them, Chern’ee and Brooke are always supporting each other, with Chern’ee particularly proud of Brooke getting to meet the Governor.

“It is so amazing that I get to watch Brooke grow and take her own artistic journey, seeing how much her style has evolved since she stared and seeing her confidence grow as well,” she said.

“She is achieving so many amazing things already and is definitely giving me a run for my money, she’s even started beating me in competitions, which gives her bragging rights for the rest of the month.

“But most of all I would have to say how incredibly proud I am of her and how far she’s come and I’m so glad that I get to be here for her supporting and encouraging her.”