June Bird Ngale was born c1954 at Waite River in the Northern Territory and later moved with her family to the outstation at Mulga Bore on the Utopia Homelands. Her father, Tommy Bird Mpetyane, passed away early in her life, and she came to call Lindsay Bird Mpetyane her father. Her mother, highly regarded Aboriginal artist Ada Bird Petyarre, had six children.
When the Utopia Women’s batik group was established in the late 1970s, June Bird Ngale and her mother Ada Bird were involved from the beginning. Then in 1988 the Utopia artists began painting with CAAMA’s Summer Project and a great burgeoning of artistic output began. June says- “all family living at Mulga Bore, all painting, all the time. “
From her mother’s side, June Bird has received the women’s ceremonial body paint designs, usually associated with the Arnkerrethe, Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming for Atnungkerre and Alhalkerre Country. Ada Bird shared this story with all her sisters – Kathleen Petyarre, Gloria Petyarre, Myrtle Petyarre, Violet Petyarre, Nancy Petyarre and Jean Petyarre.
One of June Bird’s painting subjects is the Alpar plant, which she describes as being from her Grandfather’s Dreaming. The small plant is celebrated by Aboriginal people for its food value and its medicinal powers. These paintings by June Bird are reminiscent of her mother’s mysterious paintings of sacred grass created in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Aboriginal art status – Mid career artist.
1988 Aboriginal Dot Painting, Melbourne VIC
1989 Bloomfield Gallery, Sydney NSW
1989 Utopia Women, Coventry Gallery, Sydney NSW
2008 Utopia Collection2, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2009 Desert Miniatures, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2012 Sandover River Stories, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2014 Dot Code: Desert Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
June Bird Ngale | Alpar – Bush Seeds
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