Collection: Betty Mbitjana

Artist: Betty Mbitjana
Born: 1954-2023
Region: Utopia
Language Group: Anmatyerre

Betty sadly passed away in Alice Springs in May 2023 surrounded by her family.  She will always remain part of Corroboree Dream Art family.

Born in the Utopia region, Betty Mbitjana is the daughter of very well-known artist Minnie Pwerle (Deceased) and sister of Barbara Weir. She was married to Paddy Club, who sadly passed away in 2012; Paddy was Lena Pwerle’s son. Her main Dreaming is Bush Berry which she depicts using fine dot work. Bush plum dreaming. Her mother and other women used to collect these fruits, cut them up into pieces, skewer them on a piece of wood and dry them to be eaten in times when bush tucker was scarce.

Betty’s Awelye paintings depict the designs that the women would paint on their bodies, and the dancing tracks which are made in the sand during women’s awelye ceremony. Through their awelye ceremonies, women pay homage to their ancestors, show respect for their country and dance out their collective maternal role within their community. Betty was born into the most well respected and collectible artistic families in contemporary Aboriginal art. Her late mother, Minnie Pwerle and her sister Barbara Weir are highly collectable and influential Aboriginal artists.

In this painting she depicts a combination of her bush melon and her Mothers Dreaming Awelye Atnwengerrp. Betty is an extremely talented artist, and her work has a unique, energetic style that is so similar to her famous mother, the late (MINNIE PWERLE) A Highly collectable artist, Betty’s work is increasing rapidly in popularity and value and kept in major private and public collections. Through their awelye ceremonies, women pay homage to their ancestors, show respect for their country and dance out their collective maternal role within their community.

A design based on these dancing tracks is painted on women’s bodies before a ceremony is performed, and this same design can be seen today in Betty’s works. Ochre, charcoal and ash are all used to paint designs on the women’s upper bodies, and women paint their chests, breasts and upper arms for awelye in ochre, red and white. The designs they use have been passed down for many generations, and only the Pwerle or Kemarre owners can paint them. Betty’s paintings are vibrant works of art and highly desirable for that reason.