Kathleen Ngale (alternative spellings include Kngale, Kngala, Kngal, Ngala ) is a senior Australian Aboriginal artist, born ca. 1930 in the Utopia region of Central Australia. Kathleen Ngale belongs to the oldest living generation of Utopia artists and has in the last two decades emerged as one of the greatest Aboriginal artists, having been compared to such eminent figures as Emily Kngwarreye, Minnie Pwerle or Kathleen Petyarre, due both to her senior status and the uncommon quality of her work.
Kathleen is an Anmatyerre woman from the Arlperre Country and belongs to a family of artists, one which includes an older sister Polly and a younger sister Angeline. All three sisters paint in individual and distinctive styles and have attracted widespread recognition. Kathleen Ngala’s main dreaming is that of the Bush Plum or Wild Plum (Arnwekety), a prized food source for Aboriginal women in Arlperre in Central Australia and one which ripens between Christmas and May in this country. One way of interpreting her paintings is to view them as pictorial explorations of the impact of the changing seasons on the Bush Plum plant capturing the changing colours of these small berries as they ripen from yellow and orange to pink and purple. In her paintings she also traces the journeys of the women in search of the Bush Plum as well as pays homage to the spiritual forces of the ancestors who created the land forms, everything that exists around them and codified the patterns of behaviour.
Sir William Dobell Professor of Art History at the Australian National University, wrote in 2009: Although Kathleen Ngala has been painting for over two decades , it is only in recent years that she has been acclaimed as one of the most significant and exciting artists in contemporary Utopia painting creating memorable and visually dazzling paintings.
In 2000, she was exhibited by Stephane Jacob in Paris followed in 2001 by Songlines Gallery in the San Francisco. She has taken part in over 20 exhibitions over the past ten years and is represented in the collections of both The National Gallery of Victoria and The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Kathleen has been a finalist in the Telstra Art Award and is now recognised by important private collectors around the world.
She was a finalist in the 2000 and 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards.