DOB: c. 1940
Born: UTOPIA, NORTHERN TERRITORY
SKIN NAME: NGALE
Polly Ngale belongs to the oldest living generation of Utopia women and is considered one of the most accomplished painters to have worked there during the past twenty years. Pollys 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.
Polly is one of the most senior custodians of her country Aparra, in the heart of Utopia. She shares this country and the Bush Plum (Arnwetky) Dreaming with her sisters Kathleen Ngale and Angeline Pwerle Ngale. 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. Her paintings are borne from traditional knowledge and her confident approach to painting can be seen in the way she assembles streams of seeds, piling dots upon each other to create rich thick fields employing glowing palettes of colour.
Her subject matter is drawn from acute observation and memory. Intimate knowledge of country, personal history and ancestral journey. Seamless in her portrayal of these elements her paintings are sensory mind maps that Reveal the artists place, and her sense of self all within one framework. Pollys work has been increasingly 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 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.
2000 Arts Australie, Arts Australie, Stephane Jacob/Air France, Paris.
2002 Two Sisters: Kathleen and Polly Ngale, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne.
2003 20th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
2007 Visions of Utopia, Coo-ee Aboriginal Art, Sydney.
2007 Journeys and Dreams, Gecko Gallery, Broome.
2008 Utopia Revisited, NG Art Gallery, Sydney.
2009 Size Matters, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2009 Utopia - Bush Plum & Other delicacies, Honey Ant Gallery, Noosa, Queensland.
2010 Spring, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
The World Bank, Washington USA