Dots in this painting represent anwekety (conkerberries), its Dreaming story belonging to Polly's country, Ahalpere. Conkerberries are a favoured sweet blackberry. They only grow on the plant (Carissa lanceolata) for a few weeks of the year, however, the Ahalpere people would collect plenty of them and store them dry, soaking them in the water again before being consumed. The conkerberry tree is a tangled, spiny shrub that can grow up to 2m high. After rain fragrant white flowers bloom. It also bears medicinal properties.
Colours: red ochre, yellow ochre and white.
Skin name: Ngale
Language group: Anmatyerre
Area: Utopia Region, Central Australia
Born: c. 1936
Polly Ngale is considered one of the most accomplished painters to have come from Utopia. As with many Utopia women, Polly was first introduced to the medium of batik in the late 1980's before commencing painting in the 1990's. Now an elder in her community, Polly’s paintings portray the Anwekety (Conkerberry) Dreaming, of which she and sister Kathleen Ngale are senior custodians.
Like Kathleen, Polly creates her paintings by superimposing layers of dots to create multi-dimensional patterns of colour. Her paintings are borne from an intimate knowledge of country and ancestral journey.
Her artwork 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 exhibited in the exhibition Emily Kngwarreye and her Legacy at the Hillside Forum Daikanyama Tokyo in 2008 alongside fellow Utopian Emily Kame Kngwarreye's work.
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