Polly Ngala

Skin: Ngala, (also spelt Ngal, Kngal,Ngale)
Language Group: Anmatyerre
Region: Camel Camp, Utopia, Northern Territory
Vendor: Utopian Aboriginal Art
Dreaming: Bush Plum (Arnwekety)

Polly Ngala was born in 1936 into the Anmatyarr tribe. She was married to Ray Yeramba (deceased) and now lives at Camel Camp on Utopia with her family and sisters, Kathleen Ngala, Maisy Ngala and Angeline Pwerle Ngala.

Polly began her artistic career in batik, like many of the women in Utopia, before venturing into painting with acrylic paints on canvas. She often assisted her sister Kathleen and also the late Emily Kngwarreye Kame with whom she shared the same country. Arlparra is her country from her father’s side and her mother came from Ngwelay, commonly known as Kurrajong Bore. Together with her sisters, Polly is a senior custodian of the Bush Plum (Arnwekety) Dreaming.

Polly’s depicts the Bush Plum and its effects on her country. She often depicts the topography in shades of reds, oranges and yellows reflecting the varying seasonal palette. Like her sister Kathleen she builds up layer upon layer of colour creating a multi-dimensional effect to reveal the Bush Plum (Ankwekety) and her country of Alparra in all its glory. Polly Ngala is considered one of the finest contemporary painters from Utopia.

  • The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth;
  • 1988 Aboriginal "Dot" Painting, Melbourne;
  • 1992 Modern Art - Ancient Icon, The World Bank, Washington, USA
  • 1989: Utopia Women's Paintings, the First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988-89, S. H. 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 Eire and Scotland.
  • 2000: Arts d'Australie, Stephane Jacob / Espace Mezzo - Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Paris
  • 2003: 20th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • 2008: Power of Place, Paintings and Sculpture from the Eastern Desert, Tandanya: The National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide
  • 2009: Aboriginal art in Korea, Gong Pyeong Art Space, Seoul
  • 2010: Desert Icons, Australasian Arts Projects, Singapore
  • 2011: Aboriginal Art from Utopia, Without Pier Art Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2012: Belongings, Australasian Arts Projects, Singapore
  • 2013: Aboriginal Artists UK Show , London
  • 2014: Indigenous Group Show, Without Pier Art Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2014: Senior Women From Camel Camp, London, UK