Joel Ngallametta – CV

b: Aurukun, 1966
d. Cairns, 2019

Language Group: Kugu Uwanh
Totem: Eagle (Mother), Kookaburra (Father)

My family are from the saltwater,
All the paintings that I do,
The white represents the salt water,
And the red represents the sun,
When the sun sinks down on the saltwater.
I am a song man,
And a traditional dancer as well.
My father,
When he passed away,
I am the eldest son,
And do the singing and dancing as well.
Of course, I was bred and born in Aurukun,
My father was originally from Pormpuraaw.
With my art I have travelled around, Australia and overseas,
I have been to places like the Netherlands,
Amsterdam and Utrecht.
Then with my art,
I have been to places like China, Hong Kong,
And took some of them, herbs, bush medicine,
Now I am working in the City at Canopy,
People come around here and see my art,
My paintings,
the ochre, we go out to the salt plains,
And dig down into the ground,
And find the yellow ochre,
And pick it up,
And put it in a pile,
And take it home,
Make a fire,
And cook them on the coals.
From the yellow it turns into red.
Traditional dancing uses the paint as well,
I am a song man, dancer and a singer,
My father gave his knowledge to me,
And me,
To my son.
All the traditional ways of learning,
When I was a kid my father used to come and sing along,
When I used to go to sleep it goes in my head,
The words, what it means.
I can speak Wik, Mungkan,
My father is from Pormpuraaw,
I can speak both languages,
Aurukun, Pormpuraaw,
Can speak both languages,
And even my mother’s side, Thaayorre.
English is my fourth language.

Solo Exhibitions
2013 Thap Yonk: Design for the Law Pole, Canopy Art Centre, CIAF 2013 program

Group Exhibitions
2021 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns (online)
2021 Linear, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
2018 Works by Canopy Artists, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns
2017 ArtMart, Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Darwin, NT
2016 SPIRIT: Celebrating the Culture, Vision and Skills of Canopy Artists, Canopy Art Centre (official event held during the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair)
2015 Mapping Memories, Reclaiming Culture: Stories from Far North Qld, Canopy Art Centre, (Cairns Indigenous Art Fair)
2014 Rear Visions: Stories from Home, event of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Canopy Art Centre, Cairns
2013 Inside Out: Mapping Spiritual Journeys of Reconciliation, Circa 1907 Gallery, Cairns
2013 Under the Canopy, event of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Canopy Art Centre, Cairns
2009 Sculpture + Works on Paper, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
2009 Inaugural Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns
2008 Cape to Cove, Holmes a Court Gallery, Perth
2007 Brilliance, Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, Perth

2014 Pormpuraaw Art Centre, Thap Yonk Poles
2011 Cairns Domestic Airport, Law Poles sculpture installation

Museum of Arts & Sciences, Sydney
Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane
+ Australian and international private collections