Colleen was born in 1973 and is from Santa Teresa Community, approximately 1 hour from Alice Springs in Central Australia. She was raised by Kathleen Wallace and her husband Douglas. Although Colleen is not Kathleen’s biological daughter, Kathleen is referred to as her mother and cared and supported her whilst she was growing up. This is quite common in Aboriginal culture, with aunt’s and grandmothers being referred to as mother and playing significant care giving roles of young children. It was Kathleen who encouraged Colleen to try her hand at painting in the early 1990’s.
Colleen is married to Colin Bird Jungala who comes from the Utopia region and is the son of famous Utopian artist Ada Bird Petyarre. Colin Bird Jungala is a hobbyist painter himself, taught by his mother.
Colleen is well known from her precise dot work and use of vibrant colours. Her most popular works are her Dreamtime Sisters which the Eastern Arrente people call “Irrernte-arenye”. It is the role of these spirits to guard important areas of land, in particular sacred and ceremonial sites.
Colleen is by far one of Central Art’s most popular artists with her Dreamtime Sisters series being purchased not only Australia wide but internationally. Whilst Colleen paints her Dreamtime Sisters she will often sing the song lines associated with the Irrernte-arenye. This allows her to feel connected to her country, even when she is not there.