Chern’ee Sutton is an 18 year old contemporary Indigenous artist from Mt Isa, Queensland.
Her great, great, great grandmother is listed as an apical ancestor of the Kalkadoon tribe and her uncle is a Kalkadoon community chairman.
Chern’ee began painting at 13 years old in 2010, when her school teacher encouraged her to enter the Yoorellgoo Indigenous art competition, in which she won first place in the painting category. She had never painted before. From this point onwards, Chern’ee Sutton embraced painting and worked ‘madly’ and constantly throughout the next 4 years; a journey that has rewarded her hard work with a plethora of both national and international successes. Most notably and recently, Chern’ee was awarded the NAIDOC National Youth of the Year Award for her contribution to the arts community.
Her fervid, bold and vivacious approach to painting her family’s stories is simply inimitable and visually unique in colour, composition and texture.
Chern’ee embodies her ancestor’s culturally sacred stories in a style that is both perceptive and optimistic; a reflection of a young Aboriginal person’s view on their identity and culture.
Chern’ee’s artistic objectives are to promote reconciliation and enable a deeper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal life and culture.
Her positive spirit, buoyancy, pride and good will are engrained on the surface of the canvases she diligently produces while simultaneously completing high school.
Her various achievements mirror the inspirational figure that Chern’ee has become, proving that despite her young age, anything is possible when ambition meets passion.
Awards and Achievements
.August, 2014: Artwork featured at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games with Jessica Mauboy singing in front of one of her paintings during the official handover of the Commonwealth Games to the Gold Coast.
.July, 2014: Story published in The Koori Mail and the National Indigenous Times about the National NAIDOC Awards of which she was awarded ‘NAIDOC National Youth of the Year’.
.June, 2014: Exhibition of her artwork displayed at the Queensland Indigenous Lawyers “World Indigenous Congress”. One of her paintings was also used as the logo for the conference.
.June, 2014: Water tank painted at Ashfield Country Practice +Doctors Surgery.
.May, 2014: First prints produced by Bundaberg Regional Council from the painting she was commissioned to paint for them.
.April, 2014: Story published in The Guardian about her Royal encounter and her reconciliation painting that was gifted to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
.April, 2014: Attended the awards night for the National Youth Awards at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. She was 1 of 4 finalists for the Cultural Understanding Award.
.April, 2014: Story published in Art Trends Magazine, Canada about her art and career as an Indigenous contemporary artist.
.March, 2014: Artwork selected to be used on the Oxfam 2015 Reconciliation Art Calender.
.March, 2014: Paintings displayed at Palm Lakes Resort Art Exhibition at Coral Cove.
.March, 2014: Officially handed over the A.R.T.I.E. painting that she designed and donated to Gene Miles and Matt Martin, managers of education programs at ARTIE at the F.O.G.S. office in Brisbane.
.February, 2014: Images supplied to Medicare Local on the Central Coast N.S.W. to use on their T-Shirts.
.February, 2014: Commissioned by Dreamworld to paint 2 large 8Ft paintings that will hang in their Billabong Restaurant.
.January, 2014: Presentation of the “Junior Creative Australia Day Spirit Award” for Bundaberg presented by Bundaberg Mayor Cr Mal Forman. This is the second time Chern’ee has won this award.
.January, 2014: Exhibition at the Australian Open in Melbourne, she was also an artist in residence and painted an installation art piece that the tennis players and celebrities added their handprints to. The large artwork will be on display at Tennis Australia and features the handprints and signatures of players and celebrities including Redfoo, Sloane Stephens, Patrick Rafter, Marinko Matosevic, Marion Bartoli, Henri Leconte, Sara Tomic and Ian Goolagong.
.January, 2014: Painting and copyright donated to the A.R.T.I.E. program, the painting will hang in the A.R.T.I.E. main office and the design will be used for t-shirts, hats, stationary etc to be given as incentive gifts to the A.R.T.I.E. students.
.December, 2013: Asked by the Bundaberg Regional Council to paint a painting that represented the whole Bundaberg region that they could use in promotional material and products to promote the region to the many tourists that visit Bundaberg each year. The painting was brought and the copyright to the painting was donated to the Bundaberg regional Council.
.November, 2013: Painted a large installation art piece with 1900 indigenous students that are part of the A.R.T.I.E. program as well as the A.R.T.I.E. mentors and celebrities including Tahan from Big Brother and Former Origin Greats Gene Miles and Steve Price at Dreamworlds White Water World for the 2013 Artie Beetson Fun Day. The banner was donated to the A.R.T.I.E. program once completed.
.November, 2013: Four paintings sold to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. One painting donated to Dreamworld.
.November, 2013: Artist in residence for two weeks at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. She was commissioned by Dreamworld to paint 8 totem poles in the Dreamworld Corroboree display with the permission of the Kamilaroi elders and the Yugambeh language group.
.November, 2013: Attended the Queensland Australian of the year award ceremony at the Queensland State Library where she was one of 4 finalists in the QLD Young Australian of the Year Awards. .October, 2013: Interview and broadcast by channel 7 news about being a finalist in the QLD Young Australian of the Year Awards.
.October, 2013: Image supplied to Gilkerson Legal to use on their 2013/14 Christmas cards.
.October, 2013: Recognised by Arts Queensland as a “Culture Champion” with her photo and story published on the Culture Champions Wall of Fame for 2013. http://www.arts.qld.gov.au/culturechampionswalloffame/
.October, 2013: Selected as 1 of 20 National Indigenous Youth leadership Academy students to participate in “Unleashed”. Unleashed is Australia’s first national summit for young change makers.
.September, 2013: Won the Stanza IT “Youth Award” at the Bundaberg Arts Festival.
.September, 2013: Commissioned by Tennis Australia to paint 10 boomerangs that will be used as gifts when the Australian Davis Cup team play against France in 2014.
.September, 2013: Featured artist at the 2013 Artoriginal exhibition held at Brisbane Town Hall. Painting donated as well with all proceeds going to the Safe Sista Foundation. QGC purchased one of her paintings at the exhibition and the artwork will be used for their 2013/14 Christmas cards.
.September, 2013: Painting donated for an auction with the money raised going towards the QLD Indigenous u15s rugby league team to help get them to Papua New Guinea.
.August, 2013: Painting designed and donated to the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland. The design is used for the Indigenous lawyers World Conference which is being held in Brisbane in 2014.
.August, 2013: Handed over 4 commissioned paintings to the Bundaberg mayor that will be taken to China to give as gifts to Chinese dignitaries from Bundaberg’s Chinese sister city Nanning.
.August, 2013: Painting designed and donated to The Bundaberg Woorabar Elders. The painting design will be used as their new logo.
.August, 2013: Painting donated to Shalom College for a raffle with the funds going to Phoenix House in Bundaberg that deals with victims of sexual violence.
.July, 2013: Book published featuring her artwork on the front cover. The book is called “A Companion to Australian Aboriginal Literature” and is sold worldwide.
.July, 2013: Official acceptance to NIYLA (National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy). In August, 50 Indigenous students come together from across Australia for NIYLA’s ‘Many Voices, One Future’ National Academy in Sydney for a week long program.
.July, 2013: Awarded “Artist of the Year” for Wide Bay NAIDOC week 2013 at the NAIDOC Week ball.
.July, 2013: Official launch of NAIDOC week and the 2013 Deadly Stories campaign at The Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. Chern’ee was chosen along with 12 other people to have their Deadly Story displayed on posters, postcards, banners and the internet across Queensland for 2013.
.June, 2013: Official handover of 4 commissioned paintings to Tennis Australia. The paintings were accepted by Ian Goolagong the national indigenous Tennis Australia coach and Brenda Tierney the inclusion coordinator for Tennis Australia at a ceremony attended by Bundaberg Mayor Cr Mal Foreman and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett.
.June, 2013: Exhibition at Queensland Parliament House which was part of the Bundaberg Promotion night organised by the Honourable Stephen Bennett MP member for Burnett.
.June, 2013: Baton designed, painted and donated to the North Queensland Sports Foundation featuring traditional Kalkadoon designs. The baton will be used for the opening ceremony for the Xstrata great western games.
.June, 2013: Artist in residence at the Queensland State Libraries ReconciliAction day where she painted an installation art piece with the public that will be hung in the library in the Loris Williams room.
.May, 2013: Artwork image supplied to Prince Alfred College in South Australia for their Reconciliation Week programme for 2013. The artwork is being used on a reconciliation postcard for each of the students.
.May, 2013: Won the Queensland Alumina Award at the Captain Cook 1770 Art festival which was 1st place for the best artwork exhibited.
27th to the 31st March with several paintings sold which includes a painting sold to the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer The Honourable Wayne Swan MP. .March, 2013: Paintings displayed and sold by Aboriginal Art Galleries at The Affordable Art Fair in Hong Kong.
.March, 2013: Official acceptance to YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament for 2013. She was appointed to represent Qld Indigenous electorates and placed on the Sport, Tourism and Arts Committee. As a youth parliamentarian she will be representing the needs of and speaking for the youth of her electorates.
.February, 2013: Painting called “Caina Putut” donated and presented to the QIECC Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Committee to hang in their Brisbane office.
.February, 2013: Painting on loan called “Battle Mountain” officially presented to The Honourable Glen Elmes MP who is the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and the Minister assisting The Premier. The painting has been loaned to The Honourable Minister and now hangs in The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs office in Brisbane.
.February, 2013: Painting called “Walking Together in One Country” presented and donated to Caritas Australia in appreciation of their commitment towards reconciliation and a united Australia.
.January, 2013: Full page story published in the National Indigenous Times about her two reconciliation paintings that have been sent down to Caritas Australia’s main office in Sydney.
.January, 2013: Painting called “How Matjumpa Got Her Pouch” and some of her souvenirs donated as the major prize for the Bundaberg mayor’s chaplaincy support raffle.
.January, 2013: Artist in residence and paintings and souvenirs displayed at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery in a new initiative called “Meet the Maker”.
.November, 2012: Exhibition of her paintings displayed at the opening of the new Bundaberg Catholic Parish.
.November, 2012: Story and photo published in the News-mail newspaper about the painting she donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
.October, 2012: Painting displayed at the “Artoriginal” Beyond Billabong Foundation Inaugural Indigenous Art Exhibition held in Brisbane, Qld. Her painting sold for $3,500.00 and was sold before it was hung and displayed in the exhibition All proceeds were donated to the Beyond Billabong Foundation which will be used to help Indigenous youth.
.October, 2012: Story about her achievements called “Master Stroke” published in “DOLLY” magazine November issue.
.September, 2012: Opening of exhibition at Gin–Gin Regional Courthouse Gallery called Kalkadoon.
.September, 2012: Painting donated to the “Make a Wish Foundation” Bundaberg.
.August, 2012: Official acceptance to the 2012 and 2013 University of Queensland’s Young Scholars programme.
.July, 2012: Bookmarks produced by Queensland Parliament from my painting hanging on the reconciliation level in Queensland Parliament House called “Ajarku Muruu”. The bookmarks will be given to overseas dignitaries as gifts when they visit Qld Parliament.
.July, 2012: Artist in residence at Childers Art Space, painting on the day during the Childers Multicultural Festival.
.July, 2012: Paintings displayed at NAIDOC week’s Woorabar elder’s art exhibition at Dirty Linen art gallery.
.July, 2012: Story called “Teen Artist Goes National” published in the News-Mail paper in Bundaberg about her souvenir range being sold across Australia.
.June, 2012: Painting displayed at Gidji art exhibition celebrating NAIDOC week.
.June, 2012: Bunabiri Australia first range of Chern’ee Sutton souvenirs and gifts are now on sale in airports, art galleries and gift shops around Australia. First range of products includes plates, cups and shot glasses.
.June, 2012: Artist in residence at Thabeban State School’s Celebration day helping young school children to paint their boomerangs.
.June, 2012: Painting donated to The Friendlies Society Private Hospital Cane2Coral fun run. The painting will be auctioned and proceeds will go to Qld Cancer Council, Ronald McDonald House, Bundaberg Special School and volunteer groups.
.June, 2012: First and second place at the Rockhampton Show Fine Art competition in the Indigenous open category.
.May, 2012: Reconciliation paintings displayed at Queensland State Libraries ReconciliAction Day as well as a slide show of my past artwork and I was also an artist in residence painting on the day. The painting I created on the day was given to “Kuril Dhagun” which is the indigenous knowledge centre in appreciation of the wonderful event that they organised. The painting now hangs in the Queensland State Library.
.May, 2012: First place in the Captain Cook 1770 Festival art competition in the open category.
.May, 2012: Some artwork designs have been donated to Queensland Indigenous Health and the artwork has been reproduced onto a bus that will travel from the Fraser coast to Longreach and up to Rockhampton.
.April, 2012: Artwork donated to Gidji Art Shop for them to use on their new brochures to promote their shop and the artist’s works for sale in Bundaberg.
.March, 2014: Paintings acquired by MMG mines and displayed at the official opening of the Dugald River mine near Mt.Isa, Qld. The paintings are now permanently on display at the new mine.
.March, 2012: Presentation cards donated to Mount Isa centre for remote and rural health and James Cook University for the 2012 "Are You Remotely Interested" Conference. The cards featuring some of her paintings are being presented to the delegates and speakers at the event.
.March, 2012: Paintings exhibited at “The Close the Gap Health Day” in Bundaberg which included the new painting to be hung in Queensland Parliament House.
.March, 2012: Official presentation of 2 of her paintings called “Utingat Dreaming” to Kalkadoon Communities P.T.Y. L.T.D. Paintings were accepted by Kalkadoon enterprises general manager Zane Hughes and Kalkadoon Elder uncle Doug Bruce. These paintings will be hung in the Kalkadoon Communities office and will be used for the Kalkadoon enterprises corporate logo and letterheads.
.February, 2012: Painting called "Watanana" donated as the Major prize to the Bundaberg mayor’s chaplaincy support raffle.
.January, 2012: Story about her published in the News mail newspaper in Bundaberg about how life has changed for me since donating my first painting to the flood victims of Bundaberg one year prior.
.December, 2011: Painting called “Kali” donated to Bundaberg Lions Club to raise funds for medical research.
.November, 2011: Exhibition of 17 paintings displayed for sale at Brisbane parliament House in the Annexe Foyer.
.November, 2011: Paintings displayed at University of Queensland Young Achievers Program Welcome Event. .October, 2011: Paintings displayed at Artspoken: Regional Arts and Culture Conference 2011 in Bundaberg.
.October, 2011: Donated a painted banner for “Umoja” which is an orphanage in Kenya, Africa.
.September, 2011: Painting named “Iran-Iran” donated to Lomani AU Childrens Home, Fiji for a fundraiser.
.September, 2011: Paintings exhibited at “Dirty Linen Art Gallery” opening in Bundaberg, Qld.
.August, 2011: Paintings displayed and exhibited for sale at “Wooroobar” Elders Shop in Bundaberg.
.August, 2011: A Painted guitar and a painting donated to the Bundaberg Women’s Indigenous Football Team for a fundraiser.
.July, 2011: Designed the Indigenous jersey for the Indigenous football team at Kepnock State High School.
.July, 2011: Commissioned by Department of Communities Rockhampton to design their Recognition night award certificates for 2011.
.July, 2011: Awarded “Youth of the year” for Wide Bay NAIDOC Week 2011.
.June, 2011: Painting called “The Gift of Angels” donated to the Pyjama Foundation for a fundraiser in September.
.May, 2011: Painting “Waru-Waru” was exhibited in Childers Art Space in the emerging artist’s space in an exhibition called “Showtime”.
.May, 2011: Donated a painting named “Light the way to a brighter future” to a local cancer fundraiser and raffle.
.May, 2011: Donated a painting called “Listen” as the major prize to the Bundaberg mayor’s chaplaincy support. This fundraiser through donations and the raffle raised a much-needed $14,000.00.
.May, 2011: Designed the new logo for I.L.E.E.P. which is Indigenous Learning Education Engagement Place which will be used on their shirt emblems at Kepnock High School.
.April, 2011: Designed a banner for “Close the Gap Day” for Kepnock High School which is now hung in their hall.
.March, 2011: Painted and sold a painting called “Homeless” for community solutions youth support” which will be rotated and displayed throughout schools in the Bundaberg District to bring wider attention to “Youth Homelessness Matters Day”.
.January, 2011: Auctioned off a painting called “Gindjurra” and poem through the local newspaper for the flood victims of Bundaberg and raised $1,950.00 which was donated to the junior cricket and netball clubs to help the kids get back out and play again.