Betty Mbitjana Indigenous Australia, b. c. 1945

Betty Mbitjana is the daughter of famous artist Minnie Pwerle and sister of artist, Barbara Weir. Her husband was Lena Pwerle’s son, Paddy Club, who sadly passed away in 2012.

 

Betty paints the Awelye which is the bush berry and bush plum dreaming. Her mother and other women would seek out these fruits and dry them, to be eaten at times when food was hard to come by.

 

The Awelye ceremonies that Betty participates in are depicted in her work by including designs that women would paint on their bodies and the dancing tracks which are made in the sand during the ceremony. During these ceremonies, the women pay respect to their ancestors and country by dancing, which emphasizes their collective maternal role in their community.

 

Betty’s works are extremely popular and have mass appeal. Her paintings usually consist of aerial views of women’s ceremonies and the waterholes where these ceremonies occur. There is a lot of movement in Betty’s work, which can be attributed to pairs of striped breasts that move forward as the woman dances during these ceremonies. Occasionally in her work, she includes patterns of the seeds and the bush plum, which the women eat during the ceremony.

 

Because of Betty’s sense of movement, the interesting designs and the use of bright, vivid colours, the paintings have an extremely uplifting effect and make her works so popular.