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Sharon Numina was born in 1981 and attended school at Kormilda College Darwin. Sharon is one of six sisters and two brothers. Her mother Barbara Price Mbtitjana, an elder painter and cultural elder from Stirling Station near Tennant Creek taught, all her daughters to paint. Sharon is one of the younger painters of the fabulous Numina Sister desert artists. Sharon lives in Darwin with her older sisters. Sharon's father, now passed, is from Utopia. The stories of Bush Tucker, Goanna, Dingo Tracks, and other themes that Sharon paints are her mother's and father's Country and Dreaming totems and cultural knowledge stories. Sharon and her sisters, and mother, comes from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement from well-renowned painter aunties: Gloria and Kathleen Petyerre, who are well-established artists in Alice Springs.
About the artwork
This painting depicts the Awelye Ceremonial Body Paint. Awelye also refers specifically to the designs applied to a women's body as part of a ceremony. The Awelye is performed by Aboriginal women to recall their ancestors, to show respect for their country, and to demonstrate their responsibility for the wellbeing of their community.
Since it reflects women's role as the nurturer the Awelye makes connections with the fertility of the land and a celebration of the aboriginal food it provides. It is women's business and is never done in the presence of men.
The Awelye ceremony begins with the women painting each others' bodies in designs relating to a particular women's Dreaming and in accordance with their skin name and tribal hierarchy. The Awelye designs represent a range of Dreamings including animals and plants, healing, and law.
The designs are painted on the chest and shoulders using powders ground from ochre, charcoal, and ash. It is applied with a flat stick with padding or with fingers in raw linear and curved lines. This is a meditative and sensual experience.
The act of decorating the body transforms the individual and changes their identity. During the painting which can take up to three hours, the women chant their Dreaming. The final part of the ceremony is when the women dance and chant.