The fascinating career of the late Bentinck Island artist and senior Kaiadilt woman, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori will be explored in a retrospective exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery currently on display until 28 August 2016, before travelling to Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria from 23 September 2016.
“Dulka Warngiid – Land of All reveals Gabori’s instinct for vibrant colour, bold forms and gestural brushstrokes, and her deep connection to Country and her home, Bentinck Island, said Chris Saines, QAGOMA Director.
“Taking its title from the Kayardild language name for Bentinck Island, which translates as ‘the whole world’, ‘the land of all’ or ‘the one place’, the retrospective reflects on the many stories of Gabori’s place and the body of work she created since commencing painting in 2005 at the age of 81.”
“Among more than 50 works are her first and last paintings, large-scale collaborative works produced alongside other senior Kaiadilt women, and works on paper created toward the end of her career. This exhibition celebrates Gabori’s life and work, and strengthens QAGOMA’s commitment to visibly acknowledging Queensland’s Indigenous artists,” said Mr Saines.
Developed by QAGOMA Curator of Indigenous Australian Art Bruce McLean, Dulka Warngiid – Land of All includes much loved works from the gallery’s collection, as well as works drawn from private and public collections.
The exhibition features four major works by Gabori in the Queensland Art Gallery Collection, including a pivotal early work (Dibirdibi Country – Topway, 2006), one of her acclaimed monumental six-metre canvases (Dibirdibi Country, 2008), a major six-metre collaborative work painted alongside her sisters and nieces (Makarrki – King Alfred’s Country, 2008) and one of her late-career master works, the four-panelled Dibirdibi Country, 2012.
“The thematic groupings of works trace Sally’s stylistic shifts over her short but dynamic career, with each one highlighting her relationship to the places on Kaiadilt Country she was tied to,’ said Mr McLean. “Sally painted five key places hundreds of times each, every painting different from the one before, sometimes markedly – yet in each work there are landscape cues to be found.”
“There are paintings highlighting the artist’s Country at Mirdidingki; her father’s Country at Thundi; her grandfather’s Country at Dingkari; Nyinyilki, the main outstation on Bentinck; and Dibirdibi Country, the places associated with her husband Pat.”
During NAIDOC week, a special curator’s tour (Sunday 3 July) of the exhibition will offer insights into Gabori’s work, which map traditional country and cultural landmarks on Bentinck Island, in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
From 25 June, GOMA’s Children’s Art Centre will present The Gabori Sisters: Gathering by the Sea – a free, large-scale interactive project that has been developed in collaboration with Gabori’s three daughters Dorothy, Elsie and Amanda Gabori. These hands-on, interactive and multimedia activities are inspired by the Gabori family’s homeland and their connection to the sea.
Dulka Warngiid – Land of All
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Cultural Precinct, South Bank (Brisbane)
Exhibition continues to 28 August 2016
National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square, Melbourne
Exhibition: 23 September 2016 – 31 January 2017
Image: Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, All the fish 2005. synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 190.0 x 424.5 cm irreg. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne – Gift of Jim Cousins AO and Libby Cousins through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program, 2013. © Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda/Licensed by Viscopy