Angeline Pwerle Ngala is the youngest of four sisters, Kathleen, Polly and Maisy, who all share the same Dreaming – Bush Plum (Arnwekety). Her figurative work features women dancing for the Atham-areny ceremony. Angeline’s Atham-areny paintings depict the women in preparation for singing and dancing to draw sickness out of those touched by the Atham-areny creatures.
Born in 1947, Angelina lives at Rocket Range on Utopia (Urapuntja), Northern Territory. Her work has been collected by many significant public and private collections including the Holmes á Court Collection, the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and the National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan.
‘In 1986 she was introduced to batik; however, in recent years she has primarily focused on sculpture and painting. The representation of the Bush plum (Arnweketty), Arrkere (night owl), bush foods, and flowers remain the central concerns of her work. Along with the other women artists of Utopia, Pwerle was first given canvas and acrylic paint in the late 1980s. Her canvases characteristically feature an intense concentration of dots which produce the effect of movement or shadows, across the surface. Her work is distinct from that of other artists in the community in the clarity of her colour schemes. Placed on dark backgrounds, the dots take on a pure, ephemeral quality.
There is a strong heritage of sculpture amongst the men and women of Utopia, although until the 1980s women made only non-traditional sculptural work. It was in this context that Pwerle’s bold, whimsical animals and figures were first produced. The artist gives her creatures and little people bright-eyed, startled faces and adorns their bodies in green, grey, and blue, as well as traditional ochres.’ WN
Part extract Kleinert & Neale, The Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture, 2000, OUP, Melbourne.