Charmaine Pwerle

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Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Utopia, NT


With the famous Minnie Pwerle as grandmother, and the equally talented Barbara Weir for her mother, it is not surprising that Charmaine Pwerle is bursting with talent. She is certainly one of the most promising of the younger generations of Indigenous artists, having been immersed in her culture and its artistic expression from an early age. She was surrounded by artists all her life, including such role models as her mother and grand mother, together with Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Gloria Petyarre. Charmaine’s innate artistic sense inevitably blossomed.
Pwerle approaches the canvas with much more than the usual degree of confidence. Her lines are bold and sure, echoing those of her grandmother Minnie Pwerle, but with the assurance of a much more practised artist than her years or experience would suggest. The brushwork in her body designs, Awelye, has all the characteristics of this family dreaming, but Charmaine lends her own distinct creative flair, pattern and movement to the canvas.
Charmaine is definitely a family person: She lives in Alice Springs at present with her partner, her four daughters and one step-daughter. Her education has been varied to say the least, straddling the worlds of the remote outpost of Utopia (280 kms north east of Alice Springs) until she was seven years of age, and immediately following this, the urban environment of Adelaide, where she was sent to ‘improve her education’. 

At the age of 10 she returned to Utopia School for a further year, before attending St. Phillips College in Alice Springs. Alice Springs high school was next on the agenda, and after this she returned to Utopia for a few years before moving back to Adelaide again 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 grandparents Minnie Pwerle and Motorcar Jim at Soakge Bore – an outstation on what used to be Utopia Station.
During the years she spent at Utopia, Charmaine’s education extended to embrace her people’s culture, performing in ceremonies, and learning the sacred stories passed on to her by her grandmothers.
Charmaine’s early works were impressively executed and rich with culture and expression. In the years that have followed she has developed her obvious talent, and appears to be following in her mother’s footsteps as one of the most sought after artists living and working today. Her exhibition history both nationally and internationally is growing exponentially, and her work is starting to be acquired by major institutions such as the NGV.

2019 Polly Ngale & Charmaine Pwerle, Harvey Galleries, Sydney
2019 International Women’s Day, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 defining tradition | the colurists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 A New Tradition, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Delmore Gallery: Utopia Women, Merricks Art Gallery, Victoria,Australia
2018 Paddington Art Prize – Finalist
2018 Spring Colours, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Earth’s Creation, Emily Kame and Family, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Utopia Women, Merricks Art Gallery, Merricks, VIC
2018  Delmore Gallery: Utopia Women, Merricks Art Gallery, Victoria,Australia
2017 Atnwengerrp Revisited, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2017 Sacred Marks, JGM Gallery, London
2017  Utopia: the artists of Delmore Downs, Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree
2017 Utopia: the artists of Delmore Downs, Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree
2016 Winter Salon, Whistlewood, Shoreham, VIC
2015 Sixteen Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2015 Awelye, ARTMOB, Hobart
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 Little Gems, Japingka Gallery, WA
2012 Heirs and Successors, Japingka Gallery WA

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

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