Awelye and Bush Melon by Betty Mbitjana


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Artist:Betty Mbitjana
Title:Awelye and Bush Melon
Medium:Acrylic on canvas
Size: 87 X 41cm


Betty Mbitjana was born c.1955 in Utopia, Northern Territory. The daughter of world renowned award winning artist Minnie Pwerle (deceased) and the sister of artist Barbara Weir, Betty has inherited her mother’s Aweyle & Bush Melon dreaming. She is carrying on the tradition of painting the body paint designs seen at women's ceremonies of the Alyarre/Anmatyere cultures.


This painting depicts Awelye, the body paint design associated with ceremony and the bush melon. The large circles represent a ceremonial site. The small circles represent the bush melon while any dotted areas represent seed pods from the bush melon. Bush melon is a sweet bush tucker that comes from a very small bush.

Betty's mother Minnie Pwerle and other women used to collect this fruit, cut it up into pieces and skewer them on a piece of wood and dry them to be eaten in times when other bush tucker was scarce.

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