BORN: Alice Springs, NT
LANGUAGE GROUP: Anmatyerre
COMMUNITY: Utopia, NT
Charmaine Pwerle is the daughter of Barbara Weir and the granddaughter of the renowned artist the late Minnie Pwerle. She was born in Utopia and stayed there until she was seven when she was sent to Adelaide to improve her education. She remained there until she was 10, spending one year in Utopia before attending St Phillips College in Alice Springs. She completed high school in Alice Springs returning to Utopia for a few years, she then moved back to Adelaide to study.
In 1992 Charmaine returned to Utopia and worked for Urapuntja Council as a junior administration assistant, while living with her mother Barbara Weir and Grandmother Minnie Pwerle and Motorcar Jim at Soakage Bore – an outstation on what used to be Utopia Station. She livesin Alice Springs with her partner, 4 daughters and one step daughter.
My Grandmother’s Country:
Minnie Pwerle, came from a region called Atnwengerrp at Utopia and it is this country that Charmaine depicts in her paintings.
Charmaine’s main inspirations are the Atnwengerrp area and Awelye (women’s ceremonies and body paint).
The women paint each other’s breasts and upper bodies with ochre markings, before dancing in a ceremony. The body designs are important and, painted on chest and shoulders, they relate to each particular woman’s dreaming. The ochre pigment is ground into powder form and mixed with charcoal and ash before being applied with a flat padded stick or with fingers in raw linear and curving patterns. The circles in these designs represent the sites and movement where the ceremonies take place.
The lines in the painting depict the tracks that her people made as they trekked across the country in search of food and dry river beds. The large semi circular shapes represent the sandhills and valleys. The dark colour represents the path of a fire that has swept across the land.
- National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
- The Homes a Court Collection, Perth
2021 Ravenswood Art Prize – Finalist
2018 Paddington Art Prize – Finalist
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Charmaine Pwerle – New Traditions, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2015 Awelye, ArtMob, Hobart
Selected Group Exhibitions
2020 Colours of Spring, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2020 Top Ten – Our Most Popular Artists 2019, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Summer Show & Art Parade, Salt, Queenscliff, VIC
2019 BP Centenary Celebration Exhibition (touring nationally)
2019 defining tradition | black + white, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 International Women’s Day, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 defining tradition | the colurists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Spring Colours, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 My Country, Salt, Queenscliff, VIC
2018 Earth’s Creation, Emily Kame and Family, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Utopia Women, Merricks Art Gallery, Merricks, VIC
2017 Atnwengerrp Revisited, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2017 Sacred Marks, JGM Gallery, London
2017 Utopia: the artists of Delmore Downs, Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree
2016 Winter Salon, Whistlewood, Shoreham, VIC
2015 Sixteen Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2015 Alpitye Art Studio, Alice Springs
2014 Far North-Great South, Le Mans Contemporary Arts (MAC), Collegiate Church of St Pierre La Cour, Paris, France
2012 Heirs and Successors, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle