Colleen was raised by her mother at both Santa Teresa and Alice Springs, as well as Colleen’s father’s country near Gem Tree, north east of Alice Springs. Colleen’s Yam Dreaming story links through to the country of Ada Bird Petyarre, a renowned artist from Mulga Bore, Utopia, and Colleen’s grandfather, Kenny Tilmouth Panangka, has given her the rights to paint the Yam Dreaming.
Colleen’s paintings are precise dot designs with a colour field varying from warm earth tones to vibrant complementary colours like yellows and greens. Recent developments in Colleen’s work incorporate ceremonial body paint designs and more detailed designs associated to the Bush Yam, the vine and its flower, which only grows in ‘green times’ (during rain).
Colleen now lives at both Mulga Bore, Utopia, and Alice Springs with her husband Colin Bird (Ada Bird’s son) and young children.
Currently, Colleen’s most popular paintings illustrate the Dreamtime Sisters who are good spirits dancing the Awelye (women’s ceremony), looking after Colleen’s country.
“My country is called Arnumarra, that is my grandfather’s country. In my paintings, the dreamtime sisters are a group of spirits that look after the land and also their role is to guard special areas such as sacred sites and protect the land.” – Colleen Wallace, August 2014