Words: Charlotte Middleton
Jan Murphy Gallery, Meanjin/Brisbane, has announced Betty Muffler as the latest addition to the gallery stable.
Born in 1944, Muffler is a highly respected senior Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands artist and renowned Ngangkari (traditional healer) based in Indulkana, South Australia.
Muffler’s artistic practice spans painting, drawing, printmaking and tjanpi (native grass) weaving. Having followed in her father’s footsteps to become a traditional healer, Muffler honours her family legacy by depicting her father’s Tjukurpa, the Walawuru (eagle), in her work.
In recent years, Muffler has been a finalist in a number of prestigious art prizes including the Wynne Prize, John Fries Award, Hadley’s Art Prize, and the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, and in 2020, her work became the first ever artwork to grace the cover of VOGUE Australia when she was commissioned for their September issue.
2022 has seen Muffler rise to even greater prominence after being announced as a finalist in both the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) and The Wynne Prize. Muffler’s artworks are held in many important public and private collections including National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, Australian War Memorial and Artbank.
“My paintings are significant. They refer to my work as a healer of the body, and to my birthplace, the name of that place is Yalungu (south of Waturru in South Australia). I paint about my father’s eagle, and then I also paint a significant site for me – my birthplace – which relates to emus.” — Betty Muffler in conversation with Brook Andrew (courtesy of ACCA, 2022).
Jan Murphy Gallery commented: “We are thrilled to be working with Betty and Iwantja Arts and look forward to announcing some exciting projects in the very near future.”
This article was posted 3 August 2022.
Main image: Betty Muffler, ‘Ngangkaṟi Ngura (Healing Country)’ 883-21, 2021. Acrylic and pigmented ink on linen, 152 x 198cm. Finalist Wynne Prize 2022.
Thumbnail image: Portrait of Betty Muffler by Meg Hansen.