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Area: Tennant Creek/Alice Springs
Language: Alaywarra

Caroline Numina Pananka (Kaytetye Aboriginal artist from the Utopia region, Central Australia) was born in 1976 into the Numina family. These talented sisters are rapidly emerging artists known for their bright and innovative works. Along with her siblings, Caroline attended primary school at Stirling Station, a cattle station on the outskirts of Tennant Creek and from there went to high school at Kormilda College in Darwin.

Like her sisters and mother Caroline comes from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement, taught to paint by their earlier elder painter grandmothers, mother-aunties and cousin-sisters, all connected across the Central Desert region. This artistic dynasty of artists includes the renowned artists Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Margaret Scobie and Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre who taught them. Caroline’s daughter Pacinta Turner is also fast becoming a celebrated young artist following in the footsteps of her parents and aunties.

Subjects of importance in the theme-series painted are various bush tucker such as wild berries, plums, onion, yam, seeds etc and many animals can be depicted as food source or as totems such as Thorny Devil Lizard and Dingo Tracks. Womens' Ceremony, Awelye Body Art Ceremony are mostly painted by senior ladies but younger women need to know it from a young age. Some themes such as Bush Tucker can be open and universal whilst others can be secret and/or significant in cultural ceremonies.

Knowing, carrying and reinforcing these stories gives respect for Country and ancestors and shows responsibility and the care of holding such stories to keep the stories and traditional practices alive. The knowledge must be retold repeatedly and handed on.

Having worked as a community officer in Ti Tree, Caroline is now based in Darwin, travelling back to her homelands regularly.

Her particular subjects include:

• Bush Medicine Leaves where she uses bright colours to depict the different combinations of leaves used.
• Women’s Ceremony, Awelye, Body Art, Womens' Business showing respect for country. Both ancestors and responsibility for well-being of the community are recalled in gere, where the women paint their ceremony stories on their bodies using ochre, ash and charcoal. Although recognised for her bright colours, Caroline uses traditional colors in her body painting series
• Snake, Goanna Dreaming, Thorny Devil, a small spiny desert lizard whose colour changes according to the prevailing temperatures and is painted in a variety of tones and colours.

Caroline’s works have been exhibited extensively and are held in institutional and private collections both nationally and internationally.