When the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19 in early 2020, artist Betty Muffler painted to heal herself, her people and her Country. What things do you do to relax or calm down when you are feeling anxious or stressed?

Muffler is part of the Uti Kulintjaku Project led by the NPY Women’s Council. Uti Kulintjaku means ‘to think and understand clearly’ in Pitjantjatjara. This project has included the creation of resources such as the ‘Words for Feelings’ posters and cards, which are an ideal addition to any classroom or school staffroom.

As well as being on the cover of Vogue Australia’s September 2020 ‘Hope’ issue, Betty Muffler also recorded a meditation for the mindfulness app‘Smiling Mind’, which you may like to try with your class.

When I’m painting, I’m touching the canvas and I’m feeling good energy – it’s connecting with my spirit and all of these feelings become part of my painting.
Betty Muffler

detail, Betty Muffler at Iwantja Creek, 2020; image courtesy the artist and Iwantja Arts; photo: Meg Hansen.

Muffler has developed her skills as a renowned ngangkari (traditional doctor) through her family. What things have been handed down to you from your family members?

Betty Muffler, Pitjantjatjara people, South Australia, born 1944, near Watarru, South Australia, Ngangkaṟi Ngura (Healing Country), 2020, Indulkana, South Australia, pigmented ink on paper, 122.0 x 152.0 cm; Courtesy the artist and Iwantja Arts, © Betty Muffler/Iwantja Arts, photo: Grant Hancock.

Making & Responding

Mark making, collaboration and science connections

Betty Muffler, Pitjantjatjara people, South Australia, born 1944, near Watarru, South Australia, Ngangkaṟi Ngura (Healing Country), 2020, Indulkana, South Australia, pigmented ink on paper, 122.0 x 152.0 cm; Courtesy the artist and Iwantja Arts, © Betty Muffler/Iwantja Arts, photo: Grant Hancock.

Betty Muffler

Learn more about the artist