Bustany was born in Denmark to Icelandic parents, and was raised in Iceland, and later educated in continental Europe and the United States, where she eventually immigrated. She trained as a scientist, and also studied art. Her early work was most often abstract paintings derived from images of her native Iceland and from political movements.
After working in the sciences, Bustany returned full time to painting in the 1990s, studying with the French artist Andre Enard at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and with the Icelandic artist Vala Arnadottir in her New York Studio 1995-98. At that time, her work changed in search of a more lyrical expression.
Bustany’s sources of inspiration include the interplay of seasonal light and space, music, language, and politics. She is also interested in the experience of exile and the merging of cultures and how personal/national identity is preserved in a globalized context.
Bustany has completed a number of commissions, including a commission of five large paintings for The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, for its collection permanently on display in its public areas.
Since 2007, Bustany has been exhibiting regularly at the Phoenix Gallery, Chelsea, New York City, and has also shown in solo exhibitions in Washington DC and New Jersey.