Body Painting (awelye)
Dimensions: 120 x 90 cm
Betty is the daughter of Minnie Pwerle, sister of Barbara Weir and niece of Emily Pwerle. Betty was born on Utopia station whilst the station was still run by non-indigenous owners. She grew up and spent her early years on the station mixing a traditional life with a western schooling. As her mother became famous Betty developed and interest in painting. Like her mother, Minnie Pwerle, Betty paints the Awelye and Bush Melon story. Awelye refers to the painting of women’s bodies, in particular breasts in preparation for ceremony. Bush melons are bush tucker eaten by the women during ceremonies. 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. The concentric circles in the painting refer to the site of the ceremony. In addition, one can see the breasts that are “painted up” and the small circles which represent the bush melons. The designs she uses have been passed down for many generations, and only the Pwerle or Kemarre owners can paint them.