Betty Conway Australian, Pintupi / Luritja, b. 1952
Betty was born in the "homestead creek" at Tempe Downs Station in Central Australia in 1952. Her mother had walked in with an extended group from Mutotjulu region (not then a community) to Lyndavale Station and then on to Tempe Downs in the 10 years prior to Betty's birth, due to drought. Betty relocated to Utju (Areyonga) Community in her early school years, living with other extended family but always returning home when possible. Later, when all the aboriginal people turned away from Tempe Downs, Betty moved to Jay Creek Outstation, where she met her partner. Betty's father was a member of the Conway family of Kings Creek aka Watarrka, and she has a deep knowledge about and deeper affection for this country, which she visits as often as she can.
Betty personally holds carpet snake Tjukurrpa, but knows all the Dreamings that reside in, or travel through, her country. She has several adult children, living all over, from Sydney to Port Augusta, and in Alice Springs, and has many grandchildren she loves very dearly. Since moving to Alice Springs in 1980, Betty has been a strong contributor to various programs at Tangentyere Council including the Noght and Youths Patrols where she worked each night before coming in to paint all day, and she has sat on the Council Executive, and is an active member of her Town Camp Housing Association.
Elected to the Executive of Desart Inc in 2014, Betty also found herself a Telstra NATSIAA Finalist in 2015, much to her great pleasure. Painting is a recreational activity for Betty, who never sits down without work. Taught by fellow Tangentyere Artist and family member, the late K Collins, Betty experiments freely with narrative, colour, style and technique. Refined in appearance, Betty's painting are distinguished by a delicate, layered technique and lively colour palette. painting both abstract and figurative works. Betty paints people, places, events and ancestral beings close to her heart. Her artworks details the important role of senior women in teaching, educating and sharing culture through story telling - many of her paintings can be read as though they are the illustrations of her 'talking stories' to her audience - and she has that particular ability to touch her audiences with her wit and charm. Betty speaks Luritja, Pitjantjatjara and Yankumytatjara as well as other south and south western desert languages, and is eager to translate for those who do not speak English fluently.