This retrospective survey and celebration of the life and work of Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori c.1924–2015 features over thirty works on loan from Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. Gabori was a contemporary artist of considerable sophistication and dare and a distinguished senior Kaiadilt woman artist from Bentinck Island in the Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria. Her indefatigable zeal to communicate her stories, knowledge, and experiences accumulated over an incredible life — spanning over 90 years — won her great admiration and has left an astonishing cultural legacy.
The exhibition Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori: Dulka Warngiid – Land of All traces the stylistic trajectory of Gabori’s oeuvre, encompassing her earliest small-scale canvases of 2005, iconic large-scale collaborative works with other Kaiadilt women, her singular monumental canvases of daring colour juxtapositions, through to her almost monochromatic paintings and works on bark produced at the end of her career.
Gabori created a body of work, which expressed sensations of life and cultural memory in diaspora, and differed from other known forms of Aboriginal painting, which focused on story-telling. Most of Gabori’s works represent places on Bentinck Island of deep personal significance to the artist: her husband’s place, Dibirdibi Country, her father’s place, Thundi, her own Country, Mirdidingki, and the first outstation, Nyinyilki.
Gabori lived on Bentinck Island in accordance with custom, developing knowledge of Kaiadilt cartography and cosmology, until the entire population was removed to Mornington Island mission by European settlers in 1948.