Farewell Sally Gabori

Farewell Sally Gabori

Sally Gabori's dramatic 'Thundi' (2011) synthetic polymer paint on linen 101 x 196 cm. Collection: Dr Terry Cutler

Posted by Aboriginal Art Directory | 13.02.15

“Danda ngijinda dulk, danda ngijinda malaa, danda ngad - This is my Land, this is my Sea, this is who I am”, said Sally Gabori about her solo exhibition at Alcaston Gallery held just 4 months ago.

As Jeremy Eccles wrote at the time, "That pretty much sums up the extraordinary mind behind the brilliant canvases that have flowed from brushes in the hands of Mirdidingkinggathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori since 2005. It also sums up the problem that encouraged her to paint in the first place! For her language is Kayardild, and virtually no one apart from her late-80s self actually speaks it any longer. So her art is the only way she can share the history, geography ecology and stories of Bentinck Island, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, where she was born and grew up".

The collections which held her art reflected her importance. QAGOMA Director Chris Saines, CNZM, said, "The Gallery feels privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Mrs Gabori throughout her career from her inclusion in the 2006 Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award to a major solo exhibition currently in development which will open at the Queensland Art Gallery in May 2016".

And it was Canberra's Drill Hall Gallery's Director, Terence Maloon (ex-AGNSW) who summed up her work so well: “How to explain the naked power of her use of colour, the commanding scale of her work, the sheer flair of this untutored painter – someone who had never actually seen paintings by Patrick Heron, Robert Motherwell, Jean Bazaine, but with whose spirit her art seem so close of kin? Her work has come to be associated with a joyous, extroverted timbre of sizzling scarlets, piercing yellows, opulent blues. As the American painter Barnett Newman once quipped: ‘Who’s afraid of red, yellow and blue?’ – Sally Gabori certainly is not”.

You can find Sally Gabori's artworks at galleries including Alcaston, Raft, Art Mob and Woolloongabba (it was Simon Turner from Woolloongabba who first introduced Sally Gabori to canvas and paint and showed her in Brisbane).

Alcaston are also showing SURVEY 2005 - 2013 comprising artworks from 2005 to 2013, on now and scheduled to close 20 February 2015.

Details of the restrospective solo exhibition to run from 21 May 2015 to 28 August 2016 at QAGOMA can be found here.

We will miss the vibrant colour of this notable artist, whose real name was Mirdidingkingathi Juwarrnda (Mrs Gabori).

From a statement released by MiArt last night, "Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda (Mrs Gabori) bc1924 to 11 February 2015, who was and is, a respected traditional Kaiadilt elder died peacefully surrounded by family and friends this morning. She is a well loved and respected member of the community who will be remembered and sorely missed".


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