Joanne Wheeler Australian, Anmatyerr, Luritja, Pitjantjatjara, b. 1969
Joanne Wheeler is the great grand daughter of Albert Namitjira through her mother Betty Ebatarinja. Betty, born in 1948 was fostered by Maisie Landara Ebatarinja, Albert Namatjira's daughter after the death of her own parents. Joanne's father, Marcus Wheeler is a Lutheran minister of renown. The Wheeler family are all talented artists. Joanne was born in Hermannsburg, Ntaria where her parents moved before she was born. She had two younger sisters, though one is deceased. Joanne's grandfather was buried at Hermannsburg in 1980. She is single and without children herself. Her father's family are Wheelers from Kaltukatjara [Docker River]. Joanne is a West Arrernte speaking woman, who identifies with the West MacDonnell Range country of her mother's family, and Kaltukatjara, her father's country. She also retains strong links to Anmatyerr and Luritja Country and family, moving around constantly to fulfill cultural and family obligations.
Joanne is niece to Tangentyere Artists' Marlene Wheeler, and young cousin of Tangentyere Artists' Grace Robinya, and loves to paint bush tucker and small game like goanna, perentie, and snakes, as well as the Dancing Women Tjukurrpa that travels across from the west. She carves and hotwires punu, and makes seed jewellery as well, all taught to her by her now deceased aunt, Rhona Wheeler. Joanne painted from about 1990 for the Hermannsburg Tea Room before joining Tangentyere Artists. Through those early years of her painting before she joined Tangentyere Artists, Joanne participated in occasional exhibitions such as Birrung Gallery, Sydney in 2007 and Gallery Gondwanda in 2008. She was also selected as a finalist in the 2007 Advocate Art Award.
Joanne has great style and energy and her audience responds immediately to this aspect of her work. Painting figurative and non-figurative works she paints Tjukurrpa and personal history narratives in a way that always captures the imagination.