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Caroline Numina

"Thorny Devil Lizard" by Caroline Numina Napananka


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Size: 200 x 150 cm

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

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Caroline Numina is one of the senior sisters of six well-known desert artists: Jacinta, Lanita, Louise, Selina, and Sharon. She also has two brothers. Her father has passed away, and her mum still paints from time to time. She later studied at Yirarra College in Alice Springs. Like her sisters and mother, she comes from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement.

After high school, Caroline Numina returned to Stirling Station near Ti Tree and met her husband. She started painting in the early 1980s. As with her other sisters, she was taught by her well-renowned painter aunties, Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre, well-established artists in Alice Springs. Caroline and her family live in Darwin and travel home often to visit her mother, Barbara Price Mtjimbana, as well as to her partner's country.

Many women from the Petyarre, Mambitji and Numina families hold custody of themes such as Bush Medicine Leaves, Bush Tucker, Seeded, Soakage, Women's Ceremony, and Thorny Devil Dreaming. Reinforcing these Dreamings through their artworks pays respect to the Country and their ancestors. The knowledge must be shared and passed on to younger generations. As such, Caroline has taught her daughter how to paint and shared her knowledge of the Thorny Devil Dreaming as a way of honouring her lineage.

The Numina Sisters have all been taught to paint by their artist-grandmothers, mother-aunt, and cousin-sisters connected across the Central Desert region. Their mother's and grandmother's Country are in the bush and remote Stirling Station. Caroline's daughter Pacinta Turner is fast becoming a celebrated young artist following in her mother's and aunties’ footsteps. She paints the stories of her heritage, including bush tucker and bush medicine dreaming, mountain devil lizard dreaming, honey ant, emu, and kangaroo dreaming in exquisite detail and striking colours. 

About Thorny Devil Lizard

This is the story of the thorny devil lizard. The dotting represents the lizard's characteristic thorny skin and the tracks it creates as it crosses the desert floor in search of food and water. The changing, juxtaposed, and merging palette of colours reflects how the lizard transforms its skin colour with the fluctuating temperature of the sun and when under threat.