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Christine Winmar

"Dolphin Dreaming" by Christine Winmar


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Size: 60 x 60 cm

Original 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

 In Aboriginal culture, dolphins are commonly associated with the human spirit. They are also used to symbolize the importance of a balanced life.

 One day three children were travelling with their family on a boiling day. The day was so hot, in fact, that it drained every one of their energy, making it impossible for them to carry on. The adults settled there and warned their children to stay close by and not wander off. However, toward the end of the day, the children were nowhere to be found.

 The adults began a search to find their kids, tracking their footprints. They traced them all the way to the edge of a cliff, where they abruptly ended. The children weren’t playing in the sea, and they were nowhere in sight.

 After the children ran away and went exploring, they found the body of water and jumped in, believing it was a billabong. Once they dived in they realised their mistake and found themselves being dragged out to sea. They tried desperately calling for help, but they had wandered so far from their group that no one could hear them.

 Just then Boomali, a sea spirit, came to the rescue. He saved the children, but he knew that they had been reckless and disobedient, so he decided to teach them a lesson and turned them into dolphins. For the rest of their lives, they could play and have fun in the sea, but they were never allowed to see their family again.