Phyllis was born on Ivanhoe Station in Western Australia in 1944. Her mother and father worked as a station hand and a cook. Phyllis learnt to paint from her father when very young. Phyllis has lived in Kununurra all her life and has many children and grandchildren. Phyllis has been painting since the mid 1990’s. She did not start to paint until her children had all grown up and left home. Since Phyllis has been included in many group exhibitions – the most important being the Xstrata Coal Emerging Artists Exhibition held at the Queensland Art Gallery in 2007. Her work is included in both private and public collections.
ArtLink magazine quotes: The most visually subtle of the remote-area women artists is Phyllis Ningarmara who chooses to be inspired by the multicoloured pebbles brought to her country by floodwaters called ‘Gerran’ and uses only natural earth pigments. These pebbles are represented simply as circular shapes of colour surrounded by a ring of colour against a background of another colour, and, despite the catalogue’s explanation that the pictures owe their brilliance to the natural crushed ochre of the region, I would argue that their colour effects are almost entirely the result of clever orchestration.