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Charmaine Pwerle – My Grandmothers Country (2A)

$325.00

(zipMoney for Australian residents only)

Awelye-Atnwengerrp – My Grandmothers Country – 60cm x 30cm Acrylic on Linen

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Charmaine Pwerle was born in Alice Springs in 1975. Since birth Charmaine has been surrounded by some of the best known names among the Utopia artists of Central Australia. Charmaine Pwerle is the granddaughter of the famous Minnie Pwerle and daughter of Barbara Weir.

 

She was also embraced with such well known Utopia artists together with Emily Kngwarreye and Gloria Petyarre. This early experience gave her the insatiable desire to paint and to represent traditional stories that were part of her heritage, Charmaine’s inborn artistic sense predictably flourished.

 

Charmaine is a talented emerging artist in her thirties. She lives at Urrultja, approx. 400km NE of Alice Springs with her husband and four children.

 

Charmaine went to primary school at Utopia. Later she moved to Adelaide then back to St. Phillips College and Alice Springs High School to finish her schooling. She then went back to Utopia for a few years before returning to Adelaide for further study. In 1992 Charmaine Pwerle was back in Utopia and working for Urapuntja Council. During this time Charmaine Pwerle lived at Soakage Bore, an outstation on Utopia Station, with her mother Barbara Weir and grandparents Minnie Pwerle and Motorcar Jim.

 

In 1992 Charmaine returned to Utopia. There she worked for Urapuntja Council as a junior administration assistant, while living with her mother Barbara Weir and grandparents Minnie Pwerle and Motorcar Jim at Soakge Bore, an outstation on what used to be Utopia Station.

 

During these years at Utopia Charmaine further involved herself in her traditional culture. During this time her grandmothers passed down their sacred stories to her.

 

Charmaine is a talented emerging artist. She lives at Urrultja, approx. 400km NE of Alice Springs with her husband and four children.

 

 

 

 

Artwork Enquiry

My Grandmother’s Country:
Charmaine’s Grandmother, Minnie Pwerle, came from a region called Atnwengerrp at Utopia and it is this country that she portrays in her paintings. The Atnwengerrp area and Awelye (women’s ceremonies and body paint).

 

Awelye:
The bold patterns throughout Charmaine’s paintings illustrate women’s ceremonial body paint design. The women paint each other’s breasts and upper torsoes with ochre patterns. They then dance in ceremony. The body designs are significant and, painted on upper body. 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 stick or with fingers in straight and curving designs. The circles in these designs portray the sites and movement where the ceremonies take place.

 

The large roundels depict the waterholes around which the women perform ceremony and the small circles are the bush melons, representing the bush tucker that they live on whilst the ceremonies are taking place, which often take up to week. The women apply the body paint designs onto their breasts, arms and thighs singing as each woman takes their turn to be ‘painted up’. Their songs relate to the dreaming stories of ancestral travel and other totemic plants, animals and natural forces. Awelye – women’s ceremony, demonstrates respect for the land. In performing these ceremonies they ensure well-being and happiness within their communities. Though Charmaine, like her famous Grandmother Minnie Pwerle (c. 1910 – 2006), enjoys using lots of vivid colours in her paintings, the traditional colours used during ceremony for her dreaming stories from Atnwengerrp country are red and white. Atnwengerrp lies in the heartland of Alyawarr country, about 200 kilometres to the north-east of Alice Springs.

 

Atnwengerrp Country:
The lines in the painting signify the tracks that her people made as they walked across the country in search of food and dry river beds. The large semi circles signify the sandhills and valleys. The dark colour represents the path of a fire that has swept across the land.