Major Sally Gabori Retrospective Announced for QAG
11 MARCH 2016
MAJOR SALLY GABORI RETROSPECTIVE ANNOUNCED FOR QAG
A retrospective exhibition of more than fifty artworks by the late Bentinck Island artist and senior Kaiadilt woman, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, opens at the Queensland Art Gallery from 21 May to 28 August 2016.
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines said ‘Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori: Dulka Warngiid – Land of All’ would celebrate Mrs Gabori’s significant contribution to art.
‘This exhibition captures in depth Sally Gabori’s instinct for colour and composition, her epic and multi-layered painterly abstractions that resonate with her deep connection to story places on Bentinck Island’, said Mr Saines.
‘Among the works tracing Gabori’s stylistic shifts over her short but dynamic career 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.’
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.
‘Dulka Warngiid – Land of All’ brings together many important works, including her first and last paintings, large-scale collaborative works produced alongside other senior Kaiadilt women, bark paintings made in conversation with Yolngu artist Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, and works on paper created toward the end of her career.
‘Dulka Warngiid – Land of All’ had been in development by QAGOMA Curator of Indigenous Art Bruce McLean prior to the artist’s passing in February 2015.
‘Gabori’s keen desire to communicate the stories and knowledge accumulated over an incredible life spanning 90 years has left an astonishing legacy. Although many of her paintings appear abstract, they retain an essence of Kaiadilt Country, and at their heart they resonate with universal themes of loss, longing and love,’ said Mr McLean.
‘Dulka Warngiid – Land of All’ includes much loved works from QAGOMA’s collection such as Dibirdibi Country – Topway 2006, Dibirdibi Country 2008 and 2012, and works drawn from private and public collections nationally, including Sally Gabori’s painting table and paintbrush from the Collection of Beverley and Anthony Knight, OAM.
‘We are thrilled to be presenting this major exhibition at QAG and announcing that it will travel to the National Gallery of Victoria from 23 September 2016 until 31 January 2017,’ said Mr Saines.
From 25 June visitors to the exhibition at QAGOMA can also experience ‘The Gabori Sisters: Gathering by the Sea’, a free, large scale interactive project at GOMA's Children’s Art Centre. The project has been developed in collaboration with Gabori’s three daughters Dorothy, Elsie and Amanda Gabori.
‘Dulka Warngiid – Land of All’ is accompanied by a major, full colour publication featuring essays by exhibition curator Bruce McLean and Judith Ryan, Senior Curator of Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Victoria.
Born in the 1920s, Sally Gabori lived a traditional life with her family on Bentinck Island until the entire population was moved to Mornington Island by Presbyterian missionaries in the 1940s, following devastating drought and cyclones.
Gabori was a key member of the Kaiadilt community and kept her traditions vibrant in exile on Mornington Island, continuing to speak her language and sing the songs that connected her to her home. She was also a master weaver and spent much time making incredibly fine bush string and weaving nets.
A love of paint and painting provided a new focus over the final decade of Gabori’s life during which she created more than 2000 paintings.
Gabori’s works are held in major institutions nationally and overseas including Musée du quai Branly, Paris and the Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Before her passing Sally Gabori created a major site-specific work for the Banco Court of Brisbane’s Supreme Court; and a sweeping mural reproduction of some of her works adorns the arrivals concourse at Brisbane International Airport.