Charmaine Watkiss


Charmaine Watkiss completed her MA in Drawing at Wimbledon College of Art in 2018. Her work is concerned with what she calls ‘memory stories’. She creates narratives primarily through research connected to the African Caribbean diaspora, which is then mapped onto female figures. She draws herself as a conduit to relay stories which speak about a collective experience; starting with an idea, then allowing intuition and a dialogue with the work to take over.

Her practice addresses themes including, ritual, tradition, ancestry, mythology and cosmology. Since her first gallery solo show The Seed Keepers in 2021, Charmaine has been investigating the herbal healing traditions of Caribbean women; especially those of her mothers generation, and connecting those traditions through colonisation back to their roots in Africa.

In 2022 she completed 6 week residency in south west France at Launchpad LAB; which enabled her to explore nature and ecology in a more focussed way, and to combine drawing with making sculptural forms. Upon her return she was selected as a commissioned artist for the 12th edition of the Liverpool Biennial 2023. This allowed her to develop her practice further by creating an installation which consisted of life sized drawings and sculpture. The works embodied a healing frequency in response to Liverpool’s troubled historical past.

Charmaine exhibits internationally, notable exhibitions include:

O Quilombismo, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Spirit in the Land, Nasher Museum at Duke University USA; The Wisdom Tree, her first institutional solo show at Leeds Art Gallery; Drawing attention: emerging British artists group show at the British Museum; and Breakfast Under the Tree, curated by Russel Tovey, a group show at Carl Freedman Gallery.

Her work is held in private and public collections including:

The British Museum, London UK; The Government Art Collection, London UK; Cartwright Hall Museum, Bradford UK; Abbott Hall Museum, Kendall UK and Nasher Museum at Duke University, Durham NC USA.


Gallery Images (from left)

  • Warriors inhabit mind body and spirit, 2021
  • Threshold guardian of light and truth, 2021
  • The warrior’s strength navigates the inhospitable, 2022
  • They Didn’t come to stay, 2017
  • The Matriarch I, 2021
  • Charmaine Watkiss at the RWA
  • Witness, 2023. Liverpool Biennial 2023 at Victoria Gallery & Museum. Courtesy of Liverpool Biennial. Photograph by Mark McNulty.