Caroline Numina is one of six well known desert artists: Jacinta, Lanita, Louise, Selina, and Sharon. She has two brothers, her father has passed away and her mum still paints from time to time. She later studied at Yirarra College in Alice Springs. Like her sisters and mother she comes from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement.
After high school Caroline Numina returned to Stirling Station near Ti Tree and met her husband. She started painting in the early 80s. As with her other sisters she was taught by her well renowned painter aunties: Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre, who are well established artists in Alice Springs. Caroline and her family live in Darwin and travel home to visit her mother Barbara Price Mtjimbana often, as well as to her partner's country. Many women from the Petyarre, Mambitji and Numina family name hold custody of themes such as Bush Medicine Leaves, Bush Tucker, Seeded, Soakage, Womens' Ceremony, and Thorny Devil dreaming’s. Reinforcing these Dreaming’s through their artworks gives respect for Country and their ancestors. The knowledge must be retold and handed on to younger generations. As such, Caroline has taught her daughter how to paint and shared her knowledge of the Thorny Devil dreaming as a way of honouring her lineage. The Numina Sisters have all been taught to paint by their artist-grandmothers, mother-auntys, and cousin-sisters connected across the Central Desert region. Their mother's and grandmother's Country are in the bush and remote Stirling Station.
About the artwork
This painting depicts the story of the skin of the “thorny devil” which is referred to by Anmatyerre people as “mountain devil lizard”. The thorny devil is a beautifully patterned dragon-like creature with barbs and humps across its back and large, bulging protuberances on its head, camouflaging its eyes. Surviving on small insects, it inhabits the dune areas of the country and can be found across much of the Western Desert. The lizard is said to change colours in the desert as the sun rises and sets and the dew catches upon their skin reflecting the ability of the Mountain Thorny Devil Lizard to change from plain to vivid colours.