Polly Ngale Biography

Polly Ngale - Aboriginal Artist from Utopia

Polly Ngale

Born:          c1940
Region: Utopia, Northern Territory
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Keeping Culture Alive

Polly’s career began in the 1970’s when the women in Utopia started working with silk batik. In the 1980’s a movement was made towards painting with acrylics. 
Polly Ngale is a senior custodian of the Bush Plum (Anwekety) Dreaming and is the sister of Kathleen Ngale and Angeline Pwerle, who are all established artists from the Utopia area. Polly speaks little English and lives a traditional life at Utopia.
Polly depicts the Bush Plum and its seeds in the various stages of its ripening using mainly shades of whites, reds, oranges and yellows. She also depicst the contours of her country and the changing colours of the seasons. Polly creates her paintings by building up layer by layer of colour to create a dimensional landscape.
The Bush Plum which is central to many of the Aboriginal Artists' works provides an important food source for the Anmatyerre people and is frequently featured in the Women's dreaming stories. The fruits are harvested by shaking the trees until they fall to the ground but the fruits, although already quite sweet, need to be soaked in water to soften and plump them for eating.
Her work has appeared in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award since 2003. An honourable mention as a 2004 finalist was followed by representation at the Contemporary Art Fair in Paris at the Grand Palais Champs Elysees. Polly was also represented in the exhibition Emily Kngwarreye and her Legacy at the Hillside Forum Daikanyama Tokyo in 2008.  Polly's work has been exhibited extensively both in Australia and overseas.
1989 Utopia Women Painting, the First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988 - 89, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney.
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.
2000 Arts Australie, Arts Australie, Stephane Jacob/Espace Mezzo, Avenue des Champs- Elysees, Paris.


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