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Camping at Illari Spring

Town Camp Designs is a collection of products created by Ewyenper AtwatyeTangentyere Artists and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists.

We are a 100% Aboriginal owned and run art centre. All sales directly support the artists, with all profit going towards artists fees and future projects. 

This beautiful silk scarf features a reproduction of an original artwork by Betty Conway of Tangentyere Artists.

Betty says of the work:

Every time we go out for the day, the women go for walk to look for goanna while the rest of the families wait back at the camp making fire ready to cook it. The crows hang around waiting for the scraps from the goanna.

There is a creek that flows from Areyonga to Illari Spring. When it has water horses come to drink – there are bullocks and camels – too many – all drinking from the creek. This is my country – Tempe Downs. 

100% silk, made in Australia

Categories: Tangentyere Artists

Name: Betty Conway

Language: Pitjantjatjara, Luritja, Yankunytjatjara


Betty was born 'in the homestead creek' at Tempe Downs Station in Central Australia in 1952. Her mother had walked in an extended group from Mutitjulu 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 were 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 the Kuniya [Carpet Snake] Tjukurrpa of Urrampinyi [Tempe Downs Station Homestead], but knows all the Tjukurrpa 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 Night and Youth 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. Betty speaks Luritja, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara as well as other south and south western desert languages, and is eager to translate for those who do not speak English fluently. 

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 paintings 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 detail 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 enjoyed popularity in 2019 including participating in a small group show in Tarnanthi at Art Gallery South Australia, and creating an animated advertisement for Power & Water Corporation, NT.

© the artist / art centre