Chern’ee shares her culture through her art!
Greedy Echidna – Nyuuyan Watjinaan
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 “Nyuuyan Watjinaan” which means “Greedy Echidna” in the Kalkadoon language.
Long, long ago all the animals lived as friends in one large camp in Kalkadoon country and each day they would all go out and collect bush tucker and then bring it back to camp to share with all the animals that night.
Each animal would bring back food that only they could get, the rock wallaby would collect the lemongrass leaves from high in the rocks, the turtle would collect the Lilly seed pods and roots from the lagoon, the birds would collect the Bloodwood apples from high up in the tree’s, the possums would collect the bush banana’s and the emu would collect the nuts from the sandalwood tree.
One day Watjinaan the echidna was feeling lazy and decided that he would not go out to collect food but would instead stay at the camp hidden from all of the other animals behind a bush. The animals came back to camp to drop off their bush tucker before heading back out to collect more and each time they did this Watjinaan the echidna would eat the food and then hide again behind the bush.
When the birds came back to camp and dropped off the bloodwood apples Watjinaan again snuck out and ate them all up only this time he was so fat and heavy that he couldn’t move and just lay there. All the animals returned to camp that evening only to find that all of their food had been eaten and they all saw Watjinaan bloated and just laying there and so they asked “why would you eat all our food” and Watjinaan replied “I couldn’t help myself and besides I thought I deserved it more than you”.
All the animals agreed that because of Watjinaans greed he was to be banished from the camp never to return, he would live a life of solitude by himself, so they asked Watjinaan to leave peacefully or there would be consequences, but he just laughed. All the animals then flew into a rage and started throwing sticks at Watjinaan with some piercing his skin and sticking out of his back, Watjinaan was in pain but could only slowly walk away from the camp.
To this day Watjinaan the greedy echidna lives a solitary life by himself still with the sticks in his back and only comes out at night time when the other animals are not around.
Age – 21 years.
Read more on Chern’ee next week