Betty Muffler was born near Watarru in South Australia and now lives and works in Indulkana in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. She is a highly respected senior woman and artist at Iwantja Arts, with her practice spans painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture. Muffler is also a renowned ngangkari (traditional doctor), a practice that has been handed down through her father’s family and taught to her by her aunties. Alongside her rigorous art practice, she works extensively with Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council and other medical practitioners to support Aṉangu to good health and through times of crisis.

Reception students began learning about Betty Muffler by watching her AGSA artist video as well as one by Vogue, which allowed students to hear directly from the artist. We discussed ideas around creating your own mark that belongs to you as well as contributing as part of a community by leaving your mark.

The children created an individual wall hanging using paint slicks and cartridge paper in which they made marks that represented themselves and their environment. Students then chose a symbol and colour which they could then repeat onto each other's painted surfaces, making the pieces collaborative in nature, with each mark symbolic of the uniqueness in our school community.

The paintings were finished with wooden sticks and beaded handle, which the children made, helping to practice their threading skills. Art helpers had previously learnt how to make the wool tassels and the Reception children had a choice of tassels they could use to embellish their work.

- Sharon Lynch, Visual Arts Specialist, Immanuel Primary School

Reception Immanuel Primary School

Teachers inspiring teachers

Our Online Student Gallery is a great way teachers can see what other teachers are doing in their classrooms and get ideas for art projects for their own students.

Reception teacher Pip from Mil Lel Primary School in the South East, recently attended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in the Classroom, made possible by a travel bursary from BHP. At this workshop Pip heard from art teacher Sharon Lynch and saw the work her students did in response to Betty Muffler. Using the student work as inspiration featured above, Pip’s students completed a similar activity.

The students heard from the Betty Muffler by watching her artist portrait video and created their own wall hanging in which they made marks that represented themselves and their environment and aren’t the results gorgeous!