Polly Ngale

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Untitled 1

circa 1940

Utopia, Northern Territory


Polly Ngale was born circa 1940 in the artistically rich area of Utopia, 240 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Polly Ngale belongs to the oldest living generation of Utopia women. Like many of the women in Utopia, Polly began her artistic career in the 1970s within the Batik movement when Indigenous imagery and Western craft practices were combined for the first time. This movement was an initiation into the art world for many female artists in the area.

Like Kathleen, Polly creates her paintings by building up layer upon layer of colour to create multi-dimensional images. The two have often collaborated and painted together.

Many of Pollys 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, Womens business and ceremonial law. Polly Ngales paintings often depict bright yellow seeds, a feast for emus, amongst the Bush Plums that grow in her country. Polly’s work has been exhibited extensively both in Australia and overseas.

2019 Polly Ngale & Charmaine Pwerle, Harvey Galleries, Sydney
2019 Defining tradition | the colourists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 International Women’s Day, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Beyond the Veil, Olsen Gruin, New York
2010 Spring, Kate Owen Gallery Sydney
2014 Dot Code: Desert Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2015 Sixteen Artists – 16 x 2, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2009 Utopia – Bush Plum & Other delicacies, Honey Ant Gallery, Noosa, Queensland.
2009 Size Matters, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2008 Utopia Revisited, NG Art Gallery, Sydney.
2007 Journeys and Dreams, Gecko Gallery, Broome.
2007 Visions of Utopia, Coo-ee Aboriginal Art, Sydney.
2003 20th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award,
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
2002 Two Sisters: Kathleen and Polly Ngale, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne.
2000 Arts Australie, Arts Australie, Stephane Jacob/Air France, Paris.
2000 Arts Australie, Arts Australie, Stephane Jacob/Espace Mezzo, Avenue des Champs- Elysees, Paris.
1990 Utopia – A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the
Holmes a Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Ireland and Scotland.
1989 Utopia Women Painting, the First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988 – 89, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney.

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
The Holmes à Court Collection, Perth
The World Bank, Washington

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