Polly Ngale Paintings
Polly Ngale, senior Utopia artist, sister of Angeline Pwerle and Kathleen Ngale, paints layered images of Bush Plum and other Dreamings
Polly Ngale & Belinda Golder | Bush Plum Dreaming
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Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Utopia, Northern Territory
Utopia, Northern Territory
Who is Polly Ngale?
Polly Ngale belongs to the oldest living generation of Utopia women. Her artistic career began in the late 1970s when she, like many of the women in Utopia, began working with silk batik before venturing into works on canvas.
How is Polly Ngale regarded in the art world?
Polly’s work has been widely exhibited since 1999. Her work has appeared in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award since 2003. Her honourable mention as a 2004 finalist was followed by representation at the Contemporary Art Fair in Paris at the Grand Palais Champs Elysees. Polly Ngale was also represented in the exhibition Emily Kngwarreye and her Legacy at the Hillside Forum, Daikanyama, Tokyo in 2008.
What traditional stories does Polly Ngale paint about?
Polly Ngale is one of the most senior custodians of her country Ahalpere, in the heart of Utopia. She shares this country and the Bush Plum (Arnwetky) Dreaming with her sisters Kathleen Ngale and Angeline Pwerle Ngale.
What are the themes and style of Polly’s art?
Polly creates her paintings by building up layers of colour to create multi-dimensional images. Many of her paintings depict the bush plum and its bright yellow seeds, in its various stages of ripening, or the topography of the land in varying shades of red, orange, and yellow to reflect the changing colours of the seasons. Other works depict designs associated with Awelye, Women’s business and ceremonial law.
Polly Ngale’s paintings are borne from traditional knowledge and her confident approach to painting is evident in the way she assembles the images of the bush seeds, piling dots over each other to create a dense surface using a rich palette of colour. Polly’s subject matter is drawn from acute observation and memory. There is intimate knowledge of country, blended with personal history and ancestral journey.
1989 Utopia Women Painting, the First Works on Canvas, 1988 – 89, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney NSW
1990 Utopia – A Picture Story, exhibition of 88 works on silk, Holmes à Court Collection, toured Ireland and Scotland
2000 Arts Australie, Stephane Jacob/Espace Mezzo, Avenue des Champs- Elysees, Paris
2002 Two Sisters: Kathleen and Polly Ngale, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne VIC
2003 20th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin NT
2007 Visions of Utopia, Coo-ee Aboriginal Art, Sydney NSW
2007 Journeys and Dreams, Gecko Gallery, Broome WA
2008 Utopia Revisited, NG Art Gallery, Sydney NSW
2009 Utopia – Bush Plum & Other delicacies, Honey Ant Gallery, Noosa QLD
2010 Spring, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney NSW
2014 Dot Code: Desert Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2015 Sixteen Artists – 16 x 2, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2016 Camel Camp & Beyond, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2018 Blue, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2018 Landscapes of Colour, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2019 Polly Ngale – Arnwetky, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2020 Polly Ngale & Kathleen Ngale – Bush Plum Dreaming, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2020 Colours of Spring, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2020 Top Ten – Our Most Popular Artists 2019, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2021 Mid-Winter Mofo, Art Mob, Hobart
2021 Top Ten Artists 2020, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2022 Palya – a tribute to Steve Ariston, Art Mob, Hobart
Holmes à Court Collection, Perth WA
World Bank, Washington USA
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney NSW
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide SA
The Holt Collection
Shepparton Art Museum, Shepparton VIC
2021 Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown – Finalist
2021 Calleen Art Award, Cowra Art Gallery – Finalist
2003 20th NATSIAA, Darwin – Finalist