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Betty Muffler

Italiano (Italian)

Betty Mufler with Ngangkari Ngura. Photograph Meg Hansen

Source:Art Guide Australia

The smoky black background peeking out behind white, lilac, and pale blue streaks and circles of Country emerges from the mind of senior Pitjantjatjara artist Betty Muffler onto large stretches of canvas. Working across painting, drawing, printmaking and tjanpi (native grass) weaving, Muffler maps the seen and unseen ways of the land, centering healing sites known to her community. Her care for Country is palpable through her gentle yet flourishing marks, tracing places that have experienced deep trauma; she bears witness to colonial harm and injustice that continues to scar the places she has connection to.

Almost 80 years old with numerous accolades and a Vogue cover (her artwork graced the magazine’s September 2020 issue), Muffler is now showing in the 2023 NGV Triennial at the National Gallery of Victoria. Her exhibiting painting, Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country), 2022, was first commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) for Like A Wheel That Turns, a show encompassing seven Australian artists each expanding the notion of what painting can be.

Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country), 2020. Pigmented ink on paper, 122 x 152. Image courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia. Photograph: Grant Hancock