Betty Mbitjana is a member of an impressive family of artists, and is coming into her own as a painter capable of carrying on the family traditions with her own unique interpretations. Her mother, the late Minnie Pwerle, was one of the most remarkable Aboriginal artists of all time. Betty’s half-sister, Barbara Weir, is also an acclaimed contemporary artist. Betty follows her mother, sisters, and aunts in painting the Awelye, which are Women’s ceremonies and associated body paint designs, as well as bush berry and bush plum dreaming.
Betty’s paintings depict the designs that the women would paint on their bodies, and the dancing tracks which are made in the sand during women’s (awelye) ceremony. Through their awelye ceremonies, women pay homage to their ancestors, show respect for their country and dance out their collective maternal role within their community. A design based on these dancing tracks is painted on women’s bodies before a ceremony is performed, and this same design can be seen today in Betty’s works on canvas. These designs have been passed down for many generations, and can only be painted by their Pwerle or Kemarre owners.