acrylic on linen
200 x 150 cm (diptych)
© The artist and Mimili Maku
Betty paints Antara, an extremely important site for Betty and her family. Antara is Betty’s mother’s country. This place, and its significant Maku (witchetty grub) Tjukurpa were a constant in the paintings of the late Milatjari Pumani. Today Betty and her older sister Ngupulya Pumani are proud custodians of this country; they map its significance and hold its stories strong in their paintings of Antara.
"Kungka Kutjara ananyi tjukula - Along time ago two women went to Apu Katu to the Hill around Antara. They were singing inma song and hitting the rock with a punu stick, and singing and Maku tjuta (biggest mob of Maku) come from the tree we call Maku tree, Ilykuwara, meaning Witchetty Bush. When we go out Makuing the next day we will gather a lot of Bush tucker.
My mother Milatjari Pumani taught me how to respect Maku Tjukurpa for Mimili Community. I also teach my daughter and son and grand children what Mimili Maku Tjukurpa means for Maku Dreaming. I also dance inma when tourists come to Victory Well, I am proud to be custodian of that Tjukurpa Maku Dreaming."
Using a reduced palette, Betty has developed a visual language that describes the beauty, power and persistence of the land and the intense physicality of the Anangu connection to country.
Betty Kuntiwa Pumani
Born: 1963 near Perentie Bore, SA
Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara language groups
Art Centre: Mimili Maku, Mimili
Betty was born in the bush near Perentie Bore about 30 kms from Mimili Community. Her mother is Milatjari Pumani (dec) and her father is Sam Pumani (dec). Sam’s country is near Watarru on the APY Lands.
Before she began painting, Betty worked at the Mimili store then at the Mimili clinic as a Ngangkari healer. Later she was a teacher at Mimili Anangu School and started painting at Mimili Maku art centre in 2007. Betty’s paintings depict her mother’s country Antara, a ceremonial site in north-west of Mimili community.
Betty has won the prestigious NATSIAA Telstra General Painting Award in two consecutive years, 2015 and 2016.