My Mother's Country, 2018
Acrylic on canvas
60 x 60 cm
Betty has painted the Awelye (women's ceremonial body paint designs) for the ancestral dreamtime stories of the Anemangkerr (bush melon or tomato) which belong to her mother's country, Atnwengerrp, in the Utopia Region. Betty inherited the permission to paint this design by her mother; the late Minnie Pwerle.
The bold linear pattern of stripes and curves throughout Betty's painting illustrates the Awelye. After smearing their bodies with animal fat, the women trace these designs onto their breasts, arms and thighs, singing as each woman takes her turn to be 'painted-up'. Their songs relate to the dreamtime stories of ancestral travel, dance and other toemic plants, animals and natural forces. Awelye demonstrates respect for the land. In performing these ceremonies they ensure well-being and happiness within their communities.
The concentric circles represent waterholes. The small circles throughout this painting depict the Anemangkerr.
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