We've been working with Betty Club Mbitjana for many years now and we love selling
her artworks. Her paintings are always bright and colourful and people have always
responded to her artworks positively - we will always continue to work with her.
Aboriginal artist Betty Club Mbitjana is one of the acclaimed artist Minnie Pwerle’s daughters. Betty is carrying on the tradition of painting the Bush Melon and body painting motifs used for traditional Aboriginal women’s Ceremonies in the Utopia Region of the Northern Territory. Betty is also sister to the highly respected Aboriginal artist Barbara Weir.
The subject of Betty’s paintings, ‘Body Paint Design’ or ‘Awelye for Ceremony’ is derived from the traditional practice of Aboriginal women ‘painting up’ their bodies for ceremony. These designs are painted onto the chest, breasts, arms and thighs. Betty most commonly depicts ‘Awelye’, the traditional Aboriginal story associated with ‘Body Paint for Women’s Ceremony’.
In Betty’s paintings the clusters of small circles represent her traditional totem, the Bush Melon, while the smaller rows of dots are the seed of the melon. Elongated u-shaped motifs with horizontal lines between are representative of the designs painted on the breast and upper body as part of the body paint designs women decorate each other’s bodies with. The cross-hatched pattern seen in Betty’s compositions represent the body painting designs applied to the legs and thighs for Ceremonies. Larger concentric circles represent the sites where the sacred women’s ceremonies would take place, or where Betty and her family’s totem is found.
Long, bold, continuous lines can represent the marks made in the sand as the women dance and sing in traditional Aboriginal ceremonies. These may be called “Songlines”, but can also be another way to represent the body paint applied to the upper body.
Betty’s style is bold, energetic and vibrant. She is fast becoming a highly sought after Aboriginal artist and she has gained a strong following within a very short space of time. She will certainly be an artist to watch over the coming years.