Betty is a senior Western Aranda and Luritja woman who lives on an outstation near Ntaria/Hermannsburg. She is the mother of four daughters including artist Joanne Wheeler and is the wife of artist and Pastor, Marcus Wheeler. Betty is a direct granddaughter of Albert Namatjira and was raised by Albert and his wife Rubina from the age of three.
I was born in 1949. My mother, Martha Namatjira, was Western Aranda and my father was Luritja.
I first lived with my mother, grandfather Albert, grandmother Rubina, great grandfather Johnathan who was Albert’s father and my uncles Oscar, Enos, Keith, Ewald and Morris in the old Namatjira house that my grandfather Albert built.
After my mother passed away, we all moved from that house into Ntaria/Hermannsburg.
My grandfather and grandmother grew me up but they often took me to see my father’s family at Haasts Bluff, Glen Helen Station and Papunya.
My grandfather travelled around a lot to go painting and sometimes he would take me out on painting trips with him. Me and my cousins would go and play while he was painting. I have good memories of those times.
When I started school I moved in with Maisie, Albert’s daughter and her husband Benjamin Landara.
I first started to learn to draw with colour pencils in school. As I grew up I started to try watercolour painting, watching my grandfather and uncles paint.
I met my husband, Marcus when I was in school. When I left school we were married. We then started to paint together.– Betty Wheeler Namatjira
2023 Belonging / Tjoritjarinja, Ngununggula Regional Gallery Southern Highlands, Bowral NSW
2023 Art house Sydney
2022 Kuprilya Kwatja Etatha, Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Arts, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
2022 Clay on Country, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2022 One Too Many, Cross Arts Projects
2021 Before and Now, South Australian Museum, Adelaide SA
2019 Tjina Nurna-ka, Pmarra Nurn-kanha, Itla Itla Nurn-kanha (Our family, our country, our legacy), Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide SA
2019 Pmarra Nurna-Kananhala untha-lapp-urma (Walking through country), Hazelhurst Art centre, Sydney, NSW.
2016 Desert Mob, Araluen arts centre, Alice Springs, NT
2016 Abducted!, Alcaston Gallery, VIC
2014 Women Artists of the Hermannsburg School of Art, The Residency, Alice Springs, NT
- 2016 National Museum of Australia (NMA), Canberra, ACT
- 2016 International Education Services Art Collection, Brisbane, QLD
- 2022 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, NT