Language: Anmatyerr & Alyawarr/
Country: Utopia, Central Australia
Charmaine Torres Pwerle is the daughter of renowned artist Barbara Weir and granddaughter to the late Minnie Pwerle. Charmaine is one of six children born to Barbara and her husband (Mervyn Torres) before they divorced in 1977.
Charmaine's education was varied, living in both Utopia, 230 km northeast of Alice Springs until she was seven years of age, and then in 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 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 Soakage 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 career path as an artist is yet to fully play out. Her early works are impressively executed and are rich with culture and expression, so we watch as she goes on fully develop her obvious talent. Her mother, Barbara Weir, is one of the most committed and productive of all indigenous artists, and if Charmaine follows in her mother's footsteps, she too is destined to become one of the great Indigenous artists.
Charmaine’s main inspiration comes from her Grandmother’s country Atnwengerrp and awelye. Awelye is an all encompassing term for which there is no direct translation. Broadly it describes ‘women’s business’ which is passed from generation to generation through all significant phases. Things associated with women’s law, social and moral customs, rites and ceremonies including ceremonial body paint designs.