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Charmaine Pwerle


Awelye (Women's Ceremony)  |  60h x 60w  |  RK659

Not framed or stretched  |  Acrylic on linen

Charmaine Pwerle is a talented, and established, artist whose paintings are bold, modern and powerful. Charmaine has been surrounded by artists all her life, she is the daughter of renowned artist, Barbara Weir and granddaughter of Minnie Pwerle (deceased). Her sister Teresa Pwerle and brother Freddie Torres Pwerle are also well-known artists.

Charmaine paints Awelye (women's ceremonial body paint designs) that have been passed down to her from her grandmother. These are linear designs that are painted onto the chest, breasts, arms and thighs. Powders ground from red ochre (clay) and ash are used, applied with a flat stick with soft padding. During the ceremony, Charmaine, and the women, would sing the songs associated with their Awelye, paint each other, and dance. Awelye ceremonies are performed to demonstrate respect for the country and the total well-being and health of the community.

In recent years, she has lived in various locations across Australia with her children and large extended family, but has also regularly returned to Utopia to be with family and take part in cultural and ceremonial events. Charmaine continues to learn the deeper meanings of her Dreaming from her mother, which has resulted in an incredible artistic explosion. Her paintings contain layers of complexity and movement.

Minnie Pwerle, came from a region called Atnwengerrp at Utopia and it is this country that Charmaine depicts in her paintings. The circles in these designs represent the sites and movement where the ceremonies take place and 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.

Charmaine has captured the attention of many major institutions and collectors, both nationally and internationally and is one of the most highly sought after artists living and working today.

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