Charmaine Pwerle comes from an artistic dynasty from the well-known art producing area known as Utopia, some 290km north-east of Alice Springs. She is an Anmatyerre woman born in Alice Springs in 1976. Her mother is famed painter Barbara Weir and her grandmother the equally famous Minnie Pwerle - the rights to whose stories she has inherited and which she paints.
Other famous women painters close to Charmaine include her great aunts Emily, Galya and Molly Pwerle and her extended family relatives Gloria Petyarre and the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye, whom she knew as ‘Aunty Emily’.
Charmaine grew up on the Utopia homelands and went to school in Adelaide as well as living and
working in Melbourne before returning to live in Alice Springs and her Utopia lands. She grew up in art studios with her family, learning about painting: colour, composition, and design. When she was a young adult, she worked as artist’s assistant and was a talented young curator, working in galleries and being able to speak with authority on many aspects of Utopia art and artists. A fully initiated woman, Charmaine has four children and lives at Irrultja on the Utopia lands.
Always a talented artist, her work has developed a great vivacity and surety as she herself matures
and has the rights, through initiation and heritage, to paint the stories and the country of her grandmother, Minnie Pwerle with whom she spent much time as a young woman. The large circular images in her paintings represents ceremonial sites, the linear design represents the tracks used when searching for food. The small circular designs are the seeds of the bush melon seed and the curvilinear shapes depict ‘Awelye’ or women’s ceremonial body-paint design. Charmaine Pwerle’s career as an exhibiting artist is seeing her following in her famous mother’s, grandmother’s and great-aunt’s footsteps, with her exploration of, innovativeness and experimentation with colour and traditional design, and has become highly sought after by galleries and collectors.
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