Kathleen Ngale

Kathleen Ngale

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DOB: c. 1934 - 2021
Born: Camel Camp, Utopia, NT

Kathleen began her art career in the late 1970s in the medium of batik with over eighty other women from the Utopia Region in Central Australia. Her work in batik is featured in Utopia A Picture Story.

When the acrylics on canvas movement swept Utopia in the late 1980s, Kathleen like the other women swiftly changed mediums. Kathleen's popularity as an artist grew in the early 00s, for her simplistic "Bush Plum" paintings. Her work has been exhibited around the globe and is also featured frequently in Aboriginal Art Auctions.

Kathleen loved to paint and talk about her work. Though she did not speak much English, she continually tried to teach the wider world about her paintings and the Anwekety that features in them.

Kathleen refers to the Anwekety as Bush Plum, which in fact are small black conkerberries that grow on the plant after good rain.

Kathleen continued to live with her extended family in the Utopia Region until her passing in 2021. She is sadly missed.


  • Shepparton Art Museum, Shepparton VIC
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
  • Donald Holt Collection
  • Janet Holt Collection

Awards and Recognition

2008 NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2008 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney - Finalist
2000 NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist


Selected Group Exhibitions:

2021 We Choose to Challenge, Coo-ee Fine Art Gallery, Sydney
2020 Polly Ngale & Kathleen Ngale: Bush Plum Dreaming, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2018 Painting on Country - Utopia Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2018 Beyond the Veil, Olsen Gruin Gallery, New York
2017 Utopia: the artists of Delmore Downs, Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree
2015 Wynners, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2014 Metro Gallery, Victoria, in conjunction with Delmore Gallery, Northern Territory
2010 Spring, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2009 JGM Art, London
2008 Emily Kngwarreye and her Legacy, Hillside Forum, Tokyo
2008 Power of Place, Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide
2008 Utopia and Beyond, Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney
2007 Arts d’Australie, Stephane Jacob, Paris
2007 Desert Song, Brush with Art Festival, Prairie Hotel, Parachilna
2007 Patterns of Power, art from the Eastern Desert, Simmer on the Bay Gallery, Sydney
2006 Senior Women of Utopia, GalleryG, Brisbane
2006 Lorraine Diggins exhibition, London
2005 Neville Keating Gallery, London
2004 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
2002 Two sisters, Kathleen and Polly, Lorraine Diggins, Melbourne
2002 Australian Modern, Fondazione Mudima, Milan, Italy
2001 Utopia a Special Painting Place, Bett Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania
2001 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
2001 Bush Plum Dreaming, Indigenart, Perth, Western Australia
2000 Urapunja artists in Brisbane, Micheal Sourgnes
2000 Out of the Desert, Desert Gallery, Sydney
2000 Arts d’Australie, Stephane Jacob, Paris