Betty Muffler

Photography by Meg Hansen

Betty Muffler (born 1944) is a highly respected senior Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands artist and renowned Ngangkari (traditional healer) having learnt this practise from her aunties, handed down through her father’s side.

Born near Watarru, Betty Muffler grew up at the Ernabella Mission following the displacement and deaths of family members in the aftermath of the British nuclear testing at Maralinga and Emu Field. Witnessing the devastation of country and surviving this experience motivates Betty Muffler’s recurring depiction of healing sites and the intensity of her connection to these places in her paintings titled ‘Ngangkari Ngura’ (Healing Country).

She has been a repeat finalist in a number of major awards including the Wynne Prize and the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Award, having won the Emerging Artist Award (2017) and the General Painting Award (2022). Her work has been included in numerous major institutional exhibitions including the 14th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, The National: New Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2021), Tarnanthi at the Art Gallery of South Australia (2017, 2020, 2022), Kulata Tjuta at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes (2020) and Before Time Began at Fondation Opale, Switzerland. In 2020, her work was featured on the cover of Vogue Australia’s September issue. Her work is represented in numerous collections in Australia and overseas including Artbank, the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, the Australian War Memorial and Fondation Opale in Switzerland.

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