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Betty Mbitjana / Bush Melons (1B)

150cm x 150cm Acrylic on Canvas

SKU: 16937


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SKU: 16937 Category:

Born:          c.1954

Skin Name: Mbitjana / Mpetyane

Language:   Anmatyerre

Region:       Utopia

Betty is a member of one of the most renowned painting families in Australia.  Her mother was Minnie Pwerle (dcd 2006), her aunt was Emily Kngwarreye (dcd 1996), two of our most prominent artists.  One of Minnie’s seven children, including the International artist Barbara Weir, Betty has emerged as the artist to carry on the particular legacy of colour and design of her mother’s works, so avidly sought after by astute collectors.

The artists of Utopia are known for their clever and free use of colour and brave, bold designs, whilst still executing delicate imaging.  Betty’s aunts (Minnie’s sisters), Emily, Galya and Molly who are aged between 80 and 90 years, began painting with Minnie in 2004, and whilst each lady has their distinctive style, they produce artworks possessing an illusive magic hard to define, full of colour and movement and fluid execution so typical of the Utopian artists. 

Betty paints the Body Paint (Awleye) designs, coupled with the small roundels of bush melons and large roundels (soakages) made famous by her mother, but stamping the artworks as her own with flair and recognisable signature strong brush strokes.   

Betty resides in Alice Springs, and returns to homelands Atnwengerrp with her family often.  A quiet, traditional lady who continues to pay homage to her heritage by depicting the bush tucker, ceremonial body paint and water sources in her country. 

Along with her three elderly aunts and her sister Barbara, Betty will continue to delight collectors within Australia and worldwide with the unique art of Utopia, memorable for the amazing colour and flowing imagery. 

The Bush Melon, found only in Betty’s country of Atnwengerrp was once very abundant however it is now very hard to find. The fruit was collected and eaten immediately or skewered onto a piece of wood from the desert rose bush. When dried, it was eaten later when food became scarce.

Betty’s dreaming, passed down to her by her late mother, Minnie Pwerle, is represented by designs of circles and curves and tells the story of an important food source which sustained her people for long periods of time.

In conveying her deep connection to the land Betty’s loose, bold and colourful design is a signature style that pays homage to the fruit, the land and the ancestors.

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