aboriginal artist: Polly Kngale

Born: 1940

Skin Name: Kngale (also spelt Ngal, Kngale, Ngale, Ngala)

Language Group: Anmatyerre

Region: Camel Camp, Utopia, Northern Territory

Mediums: Silk, Wooden Sculpture, Acrylic Painting

Dreaming: Bush Plum

Brothers/ Sisters: Kathleen Kngale, Angelina Pwerle, Molly Kngale, Leith Kngale

Children: Josie, Maizie, Sammy, Audrey, Bessie, Kate – all Petyarre

Collections: The Holmes à Court Collection

Polly Kngale was born in 1940 into the Anmatyarre tribe. She was married to Ray Yeramba (deceased) and now lives at Camel Camp in Utopia with her family and sisters, Kathleen Kngale, Maisy Ngala and Angeline Pwerle Kngale.

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 – Alparra in all its glory.

Exhibitions (selected):

2009 – ‘Utopia- Bush Plum and other Delicacies’, honey ant galllery, Sydney
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.
2000 – Arts d’Australie, Arts d’Australie, Stephane Jacob / Espace Mezzo – Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Paris.; 2000 Arts d’Australie, Arts d’Australie, Stephane Jacob / Air France, Paris.
1990 – ‘Utopia – A Picture Story, ‘ an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Holmes à Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Eire and Scotland.
1989 – Utopia Women’s Paintings, the First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988-89, S. H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
Bibliography (selected):
Brody, A., 1989, Utopia Women’s Paintings: the First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988-89, exhib. cat., Heytesbury Holdings, Perth. ©
Brody, A., 1990, Utopia: a Picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Heytesbury Holdings Ltd, Perth. ©
Aboriginal Artists Dictionary of Biographies – Central Desert, Western Desert & Kimberley Region, written by Janusz B.Kreczmanski & Margo Birnberg
Collections (selected):
The Holmes à Court Collection, Perth;
1988 Aboriginal “Dot” Painting, Melbourne;
1992 Modern Art – Ancient Icon, The World Bank, Washington, USA