Betty Mbitjana (Mpetyane) Paintings

Betty Mbitjana - Utopia Artist, Awelye - Body Paint Design from her mother Minnie Pwerle


Body Paint and Awelye by Betty Mbitjana

Betty Mbitjana  |  Body Paint and Awelye

Jap 021405  |  acrylic on canvas  |  200 x 106 cm

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Awelye and Bush Melon by Betty Mbitjana

Betty Mbitjana   |  Awelye and Bush Melon

Jap 008311  |  acrylic on linen  |  120 x 120 cm

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Betty Mpetyane continues the tradition of Awelye Body Paint Designs that was closely identified with her mother, the great Utopia artist Minnie Pwerle. Minnie Pwerle’s ancestral Dreamings were “Awelye – Atnwengerrp” and “Bush Melon”, both of which are painted by Betty Mpetyane. The bold linear pattern of stripes and curves throughout these paintings represent the women’s ceremonial body paint design.

The old women still paint the ceremonial designs on their breasts, first with their fingers, and then with a brush called a typale, made from a stick. They paint with red and white ochres.  Then they dance, showing their legs – the old women dance with a ceremonial stick in the earth. The ancestral spirits of the country gave women’s ceremonies to the old women. The senior woman sings, then she gives that ceremony to the others, to keep it strong.

Betty Mpetyane learned the ceremonies and songs growing up on the Utopia homelands with her extended family and kinship group. Her family are well established in the Aboriginal art field, including her sister Barbara Weir and aunt Emily Pwerle. Betty rose to prominence in the years after her mother passed away in 2006, taking up the mantle and carrying the Awelye story forward. Betty Mpetyane lives at Alparra Community on the Utopia homelands.

The Utopia artists story has been one of great success, producing some of the best known Aboriginal artists in Australia, and bonding the clan groups together and further reinforcing their relationship with country and the ceremonies that define that relationship. A selection of paintings by Betty Mpetyane is available from Japingka Gallery, where collectors can buy Aboriginal art online with certainty of quality, authenticity and provenance of art works.

Selected Exhibitions

2012 Heirs and Successors, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2012 Little Gems, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2012 Desert Gold, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2013 I colori del deserto, Galleria Isarte (in collaboration with Japingka), Milan Italy
2014 Desert Song, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
Betty Mpetyane’s paintings have been included in a number of exhibitions at Japingka Gallery including-

Further information is available on exhibiting artists on the following links:

Minnie Pwerle