Hand-Painted Noongar Art
Artist: Christine Winmar
Region: Perth, WA
Size: 90 x 60 cm
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 are reflected 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 meanings behind her artwork
Emu paintings in Aboriginal art show many aspects of the life cycle of this animal. As one of the largest animals on the Australian continent, the emu represents an important food source for traditional Aboriginal groups. The large eggs of the emu are also highly prized as bush food.
Aboriginal people are skilled trackers and hunters and rely on their knowledge of nature and the environment to assist them. By knowing what sorts of bush foods attract the emu, the hunter knows where the birds will be during certain times of the year. Emu tucker is the grass seeds that attract the birds so knowledge of these locations helps the hunter.
The Emu is an integral part of the Dreaming stories of inland Australia. One story tells how the flightless bird lost his ability to fly. In the Creation story, the emu was burned by a bush fire that damaged his wings and so he could no longer fly. The nesting habits of the emu also feature in Dreamtime stories. The male emu takes on responsibility for the eggs in the nest hatches them and raises the chicks. Emu Dreaming sites in Central Australia are associated with male initiation rituals and the ceremonies are held in important locations on the Emu Dreaming tracks.
The emu is represented in Aboriginal art in many forms including the tracks, nesting sites, food locations, Creation of Ancestor images, and the form of the bird from rock art sites and contemporary paintings