Artist: Betty Mbitjana
Skin name: Mbitjana (also spelled Mpetyane)
Language group: Anmatyerre
Area: Utopia Region, Central Australia
Betty's work is influenced by her mother's artwork, a renowned Aboriginal artist named Minnie Pwerle who passed away in 2006. Her work was famous for these markings and Betty received permission from her family after Minnie's passing to paint this.
Minnie's middle child, Betty was a likely successor to paint Minnie's designs after her mother's passing in 2006. Betty had been by Minnie's side throughout her six year career and had acted as an unofficial agent if it were. For Betty to take on the designs, with permission from the family, was a reward for all; the community could continue to receive financial benefits through Betty, and most importantly Minnie's legacy lives on.
Betty's paintings are more structured and refined than her mother's and have their own unique beauty in this very way. The designs depict women's body paint designs, land formations and sacred sites on her mother's country.
Betty has her own Awelye (meaning women's ceremony) for her country, Ahalpere, a little further south than her mother's.
Betty participated in Batik workshops in the 1980's which were followed by acrylic workshops in the early 1990's. Her batiks are featured in the Holmes a Court Collection and the publication Utopia – A Picture Story. Her earlier paintings used colour and shape to render depictions of the Bush Plum Dreaming that belongs to her country, and her paintings have been exhibited extensively throughout Australia.
Pictured above: In 2014, Betty Mpetyane was filmed by Imparja television for an ad promoting aboriginal art in Central Australia.