Artists / Charmaine Pwerle / Awelye


Artist:     Charmaine Torres Pwerle

Born:       1975

Language:   Anmatyerr/ Alyawarr

Region:     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 (Torres) before they divorced in 1977. 

Charmaine was born in Alice Springs in 1975 and today lives there with her four daughters.  She attended school at the community of Utopia (approx 280 km north east of Alice Springs), before leaving to attend school in Adelaide for three years to improve her education.  After another year at Utopia when she was 10, Charmaine completed her secondary education at Saint Phillips College in Alice Springs.

After College in Alice, she spent several more years back in Utopia with her family, before returning once again to Adelaide to further her studies.

1992 Charmaine found her once again to Utopia, this time working for the Urapuntja Council as the junior administrative assistant. During this time Charmaine lived with her mother Barbara Weir and grandparents Minnie Pwerle and Motorcar Jim at Soakage Bore – an outstation of Utopia Station.  This was the time that she immersed herself deeply in her culture to learn the significance of stories and Dreamings from her mother and particularly from her Grandmother, and took part in the sacred ceremonies associated with her heritage. 

It is not surprising that Charmaine has taken up painting as she has always been surrounded by artists including her mother Barbara Weir, the late great Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Gloria Petyarre and of course her grandmother Minnie Pwerle.

Charmaine’s main inspirations come 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.


Awelye 2012 by Charmaine Pwerle


Charmaine Pwerle

Synthetic polymer on Linen.

90 x 90 cm


Charmaine Pwerle, daughter of leading artist Barbara Weir, depicts the sacred rites and symbols of Awelye in the style of her famous grandmother, Minnie Pwerle.