Betty Mbitjana is the daughter of renowned artist Minne Pwerle who taught her daughter the dreamtime stories through ceremonies and how to paint these on the body and on canvas.
Betty’s paintings depict the designs women paint on their bodies for the Awely ceremonies which are practised each summer at Utopia. Through their ceremonies women pay homage to their ancestors and teach the younger women about women’s business.
Utopia is an Aboriginal freehold property formed in November 1978, approximately 250 km north east of Alice Springs. A former cattle station, it was sold back to the government in 1975 and handed back to the traditional owners – the Anmatyerre and Alyawarre people. It covers an area of 3,500 square kilometres, transected by the Sandover River, and lies on a traditional boundary of the Alyawarra and Anmatyarre people, the two language groups which predominate there today.