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Christine Winmar

"Brolga Love Dance" by Christine Winmar


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Size: 140 x 51cm

Medium:  Acrylic on Canvas

Noongar Artwork

Christine Winmar is a Noongar woman, born in Midland, Western Australia in 1965. Her skin name is ‘Allawah’, an Aboriginal word meaning "Stay here".  Christine was taught to paint by her father, a renowned artist and didgeridoo craftsman. He taught her many aspects and techniques of Noongar art which reflect in her work today. Christine then began experimenting with different styles and techniques with the support of her family and friends. 

Christine has also spent a few years in the Kimberley, where she further developed her skills by adopting the techniques utilised by aboriginals in the Northern Territory.

By 1997 Christine was selling her works through an Aboriginal art gallery in Perth.  Her first joint exhibition followed shortly, when in 2005 she and fellow artists Mingi May Barnes, Geoff Lindsey and Tjinanginy exhibited in Perth and Cottesloe. 

In 2009 Christine exhibited her work with various other artists in Perth and San Francisco, in the “Colours of Australia” exhibition.

Christine uses media such as canvas, pottery, wood and glass. Bright and colourful patterns made using dots are a common aspect of her work.

About the Painting

Sometimes called native companions or Australian cranes, these grey birds are beautiful dancers, famous for their elaborate performances which appear to be for both pleasure and as a part of their mating ritual.  The Aboriginal people have immortalised their graceful steps through dance. Vocal birds, the females also make a trumpeting sound while dancing.  They look very elegant moving across the plains; the freedom contained within their dance spreading and radiates joy and spontaneity. Get ready for a celebration if Brolga delicately steps into the arena of your life!

In a well-known Dreaming about Brolga[1], she was a beautiful girl obsessed with dancing.  A wirrinun (shaman) wanted her for his wife but she refused, as she refused all men. Dancing was her love and nothing else distracted her.  He harboured resentment until one day, seeing her dancing alone on the plain he takes his chance, changes himself into a willy-willy (small whirlwind) and sweeps her into it with the intention of abducting her.  The Great Spirit intervenes, and she is transformed into Brolga as we see her today.  She is still dancing.

Brolga emphasises the ability you have to pursue creative interests and talents, and still be supported. The girl was provided for by her tribe, and allowed to practise skills, even though they were unnecessary for physical survival. Also, as a rare token of esteem, she was permitted to dance in the men's corroborees. Brolga, perhaps the first career woman, strongly emphasises going for your dream and expressing yourself creatively on a professional level.  All it requires is a belief in the Self and an investment of time – the evidence that self-expression can work is stamped out in Brolga’s dance!

It is obvious Brolga symbolises creativity, especially in dance and self-expression.  Brolga was a very good dancer, she loved it and all her energies went into it.  What are you good at in your life?   Brolga dances the elegant dance of creative expression and asks you to join her!