Aboriginal Artist Charmaine Pwerle

Charmaine Pwerle

Born: 1975

Language Group: Anmatyerre/Alywarre

Country: Atnwengerrp, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen

Subjects: Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs), Creation Awelye, My Country

Charmaine is a talented and established artist, whose paintings are very powerful, bold and modern. Charmaine is the daughter of renowned artist, Barbara Weir and granddaughter of the famous artist, Minnie Pwerle (deceased). Her sister Teresa Pwerle and brother Freddie Torres Pwerle are also well-known artists.

Charmaine was born in Alice Springs and grew up in Utopia, Adelaide and Alice Springs. Charmaine attended Utopia School and then St Philips College in Alice Springs. She returned to Utopia in 1992 and worked for Urapuntja Council. She lived at Soakage Bore with her mother and grandmother and learnt traditional culture, dreamings and awelye.

Charmaine started painting in 2012. She paints awelye (women's ceremonial body paint designs) that has been passed onto 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.

Currently Charmaine lives in Mount Isa with her five children (four daughters and one son).


Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne