Betty Muffler is a highly respected Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara artist and a revered ngangkari, a traditional Anangu healer. Embracing a subtle monochromatic palette, Muffler creates sublime and sophisticated paintings evoking landscapes that reveal the artist’s reverence for her Country, her ngangkari spirit and her people.
Born in 1944 near Watarru, close to the border of South and Western Australia, as a child Muffler survived the British atomic testing conducted at Maralinga and Emu Junction. The devastating impact this event had on her family and their ancestral Country left a lifelong impression on Muffler that she addresses through her ngangkari practice and describes within her paintings.
Widely celebrated and revered for her contemporary practice, Muffler was awarded the Emerging Artist Award at the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 2017, at the esteemed age of 73.
Her dynamic paintings are included in many private and public collections, and she has been featured in the 2015, 2017 and 2020 Tarnanthi exhibitions presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia.
In 2020 Muffler’s work was published on the cover of Vogue Australia’s September Issue; the first-time fine art was published on the cover of the eminent magazine in its 60-year history. The cover was a result of a collaboration between Vogue Australia and the National Gallery of Australia, as part of the global Vogue Hope Campaign which saw all 26 editions of Vogue worldwide (with a global reach of over 50 million) united behind the theme of hope, with each edition producing a cover that reflected a longing for a recovered future amid the chaos of the global pandemic.
In 2021, Muffler and Maringka Burton presented new work at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, as part of The National 2021: New Australian Art and were both announced as finalists for the 2021 Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for their collaborative work Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country). Muffler was also recognised for her solo work in two prestigious awards in 2021, announced as a finalist in the Hadley’s Art Prize in Hobart, Tasmania and for the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize presented by the Bendigo Art Gallery in Victoria.
© The Artist, Iwantja Arts and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne 2021
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