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 utilized 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 colorful patterns made using dots are a common aspect of her work.
The Story Behind the Bush Leaves Paintings
The medicine bush leaves depicted were original of the Kurrajong tree of which there are some 30 varieties dating back 50 million years. They scale from small shrubs to massive trees some 30 meters in height. In the larger trees, their trunks are used to store water, but it is the leaves that have medicinal purposes.
The paste is used to heal a multitude of afflictions such as bites, wounds, skin infections, rashes, and skin cancer. The bush leaves are also boiled in hot water to make an infusion or healing tea. Other preparations were used as insect repellent or were thrown into the water to stun the fish.
The desirability of the artworks
Admirers of the medicine bush leaf paintings often observe their mesmerizing attraction. People are captivated by how the paintings appear to be in motion in front of their eyes like the leaves on the canvas are literally blowing in the wind. Many buyers and collectors of medicine bush leaf artworks both in Australia, America, and Europe are also medical specialists who buy the works to hang in their consulting rooms to show an Aboriginal artwork with medical connotations.