Charmaine was born in London to Jamaican parents.
Her work is concerned with what she calls ‘memory stories’. She creates these stories primarily through research connected to the African Caribbean diaspora, and then maps the stories onto life sized figures. She draws herself only as a conduit to relay stories which speak about a collective experience; starting with a theme then allowing intuition and a dialogue with the work to take over.
Pencil and paper are her main materials of choice, and as the work develops she often includes other materials such as watercolour, wax, ink, coloured pencil etc. She uses this layering of material as a way of weaving additional narratives into the work, allowing the material to speak in a way that the drawing itself can't. Drawing is central to her practice, and she uses the language of drawing when executing works in other media such as video, and printmaking.
Charmaine works very much in a non linear way, starting with the research then taking inspiration from all different sources; this helps to add surprising elements which come together to add richness to the stories being told. Even though she references the past through research, there is always something contained in the narrative which is relevant to our present time - which speaks to the cyclical nature of history.
Charmaine’s work has recently shifted more towards tracing African ancestral traditions which have survived the transatlantic; the stories, rituals and customs which have become a part of Caribbean culture and have now adapted again as the diaspora move beyond the Americas into the western world. Her memory stories shift between the archeological, the cosmological and the historical spaces - always looking back in order to create a new projection in the present.
Charmaine lives and works in London and is represented by Tiwani Contemporary gallery.