Betty Club Mbitjana (also spelt Mpetyane) was born on Utopia station in 1957 in the era when the station was still run by non-indigenous owners. Later in 1979 a successful land claim hearing resulted in Utopia station being granted as permanent legal title of the leasehold to the community of traditional elders. The Utopia women played a key role in the negotiation of the land title.
Betty had grown up and spent her early years on the station mixing a traditional life with a western schooling. Betty is the daughter of acclaimed Aboriginal Utopia artist Minnie Pwerle, and is sister of Barbara Weir and niece of Emily Pwerle. As her mother Minnie Pwerle became more famous for her paintings, Betty developed an interest in painting and learned from Minnie’s innovative blending of colours.
Since her mother passed away in 2006, Betty's career has developed in its own right, building on her acquired knowledge and developing her own methods of expression. Betty has taken on the many of the ceremonial stories painted by her late mother including Bush Melon Dreaming and Body Painting motifs used for women's ceremonies in the Utopia Region of the Northern Territory. Betty lives at Alparra Community on Utopia station.
The spirit of her mother's work can be seen in Betty's painting and exemplifies the long held tradition of passing stories from one generation to the next. Betty's paintings have gained a strong following within a very short space of time and she will certainly be an artist to watch over the coming years.
Sadly, due to ill health, Betty is no longer painting.