Name: Betty Naparula Namatjira Wheeler

Language: Western Arrarnta

Community: Ntaria


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 my 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

© the artist / art centre