aboriginal artist: Charmaine Pwerle

Charmaine Pwerle was born in Alice Springs in 1975, and has spent her life surrounded by some of the best known names amongst the Utopia artists of Central Australia. Charmaine Pwerle is the daughter of Barbara Weir and granddaughter of the famous Minnie Pwerle.

Through her early life Charmaine was also in contact with many other well known Utopia artists including Emily Kngwarreye and Gloria Petyarre. This early experience built into her make-up the strong desire to paint and to represent traditional stories that were part of her heritage, particularly the women’s ceremonial designs and stories that were passed down from her grandmother Minnie Pwerle.

Charmaine Pwerle first went to primary school at Utopia, before moving to Adelaide then back to Alice Springs for the end of her schooling. Charmaine Pwerle returned to Utopia for a few years before going back 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.

During these years at Utopia Charmaine Pwerle became further involved in her traditional culture and it was then that her grandmothers passed down many of the sacred stories to her. Today Charmaine Pwerle has four daughters and a step-daughter and currently lives in Alice Springs with her children and partner.