Anita Ratara Mbitjana

Anita Ratara Mbitjana

Skin name:MbitjanaLanguage:Western ArrarntaDate of birth:1943-09-05

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Anite Ratara was ‘born bush’ in the alukura (women’s camp) near Hermannsburg in 1943. She is the mother of prominant potter Hayley Coulthard.

She attended the Hermannsburg Mission school, and later went on to work in the clinic, teaching the young mother’s who had children. She also recalls making moccasins, or ‘fancy work’, for the missionaries.

As a young woman, Anita showed natural ability in the arts and crafts, teaching herself to paint from an early age. She recalls being taught pottery by Naomi Sharp in the early 1990s, when the pottery program was located at the outstations. Anita continues today residing mostly at her outstation, Ipalala, today, but travels into the Pottery most days to continue her love of working with clay.

Anita mostly depicts Palm Valley in her work, the home of the Wily Wagtail Dreaming, who turned into a stone in the desert. Palm Valley is Anita’s grandfather’s Country, and she continues to assert her links with her Country through her art. 


National Portrait Gallery

National Gallery of Victoria