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Artist: Betty Mbitjana
Title: Body Paint
Language: Anmatyerre / Utopia NT
Medium: Acrylic on cotton canvas
Size: 97.5x51.5 cm
The patterns throughout Betty’s painting illustrates women’s ceremonial body paint design. The women apply the body paint designs onto their breasts, arms and thighs singing as each woman takes their turn to be ‘painted up’. Their songs relate to the dreaming stories of ancestral travel and other totemic plants, animals and natural forces. Awelye – women’s ceremony, demonstrates respect for the land. In performing these ceremonies, they ensure well-being and happiness within their communities.
Born in the 1950s and from the Utopia region in Central Australia, Betty is the daughter of famous artist Minnie Pwerle. Betty credits her mother with introducing her to the world of modern art. She observed Minnie learning to paint and as she became more well-known Betty decided to take up art. Through her art, Betty pays homage to her heritage, cultural knowledge and connection to her country. Her style is similar to that of her mother’s; however, Betty puts her own unique touch into the ancient and traditional stories depicted in her works.
CERTIFICATES OF AUTHENTICITY
Each painting includes a certificate of authenticity which comprises the artist's photo (with his/her permission)