Artist | SALLY GABORI (dec)

Artist | SALLY GABORI (dec)


Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by SALLY GABORI of Mornington Island Artists. The title is My Father’s Country. [4561-L-SG-0809] (Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen)

SALLY GABORI (dec)

My Father’s Country

For those of you not familiar with the stunning works of Sally Gabori, I am sure you will become a fan - she is not only an amazing artist, but a woman who has started the art movement in her home of Bentinck Island.

Her works are contemporary, vivid and saturated with the colours of the tropics - one could be forgiven for not recognising this as indigenous art, but it’s a departure that has collectors taking notice.

The international response to Sally’s work has been enormous and with shows in Australia, UK, South Korea, middle East and the US she has won over curators, galleries and major collectors alike.

Born around 1924, Sally Gabori, known also by her tribal name Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, comes from the Bentinck Island of the South Wellesley Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Gabori speaks no English, only her native tongue the Kayardild language, and is now an elder, one of the last surviving keepers of her peoples’ language, traditions, stories and culture.

She has led a mostly traditional lifestyle, growing up with her Kaiadilt people who, until the late 1940s, had very little contact with or interference by white settlers.

This changed in the late 1940s, when many of the communities in the Gulf of Carpentaria were affected by a severe drought.

In 1948, a tidal wave struck the Bentinck Island and the missionaries transported the entire population to Mornington Island.

Gabori moved there with her husband and family.

It was here she bore eleven children and raised them along with several others of her husband’s children to other wives, as is Kaiadilt tradition.

Gabori is now grandmother and great-grandmother of a large, extended family to whom she represents a living connection to people and places of a time gone by.

Her art is a visual record of the beaches, mangroves and saltpans of her native Bentinck Island, and have been collected by The National Gallery of Victoria, Edith Cowan University, the Chartwell, Merenda, Lagerberg-Swift and Marshall Collections, Leeuwin Estate, Harding Family and the Museé du Quai Branly in Paris to name but a few of an ever growing list of collecting institutions.

Throughout her life she has been an accomplished producer of traditional handicrafts made from bush products such as Pandanus fibres and Hibiscus bark woven into string and in 2005 she took the art world by surprise when she wandered into the Mornington Island Arts and Crafts centre and picked up a brush.

On her 4th visit into the Mornington Island Arts and Crafts centre, Sally started to draw on paper.

The art centre coordinator at the time quickly asked her if she wanted to try a canvas and some paint and gave her a small 30cm x 45cm stretched canvas which she painted using a combination of acrylic and chalk pastel.

When she had finished it was obvious that she had that something special that would set her apart.

Her work was so colourful and appealed straight away.

Sally grew more confident as the months went by, her canvases got larger and larger, her use of colour more bold and her abandonment more pronounced, but it wasn’t till after her first solo exhibition in Brisbane at the end of 2005 that she really came of age as an artist.

Her first trip to a capital city, seeing her work on the gallery wall and meeting all the people on the opening night, who told how much they loved her work and having a state line do a short story on ABC TV, all helped her to believe in herself.

Over the subsequent five to seven years she has achieved more than most artists do if they have painted for a lifetime and her work is on public display across Australia.

While the images hold deep significance to Gabori, her peers and family, the broad fascination with her work and artistic development stems, for the wider public, from her unique subject matter.

Many of her works, as captured in their titles, are of the country in which she and her family grew up.

From the moment she first picked up a paintbrush, Gabori has been recording her Kaiadilt country—her land—and its stories.

In Barramundi Story she tells a story of her costal upbringing and life through the bold lines and rich layering of black and white.

The importance of her culture and its stories, combined with her love of paint, have enabled Gabori to produce, for the past seven years, a distinct, influential and acclaimed body of work.

For generations, her country and people have been a muted voice in Australian indigenous history and culture.

Through the boldness of her paintings, this woman, her family, traditions and stories are silent no longer.

Recent, Sally at the ripe old age of 89 years, won the inaugural Rockhampton Art Gallery $50,000 Gold Award.

The latest of a whole host of awards which she is destined to add to, health permitting in the coming years!

.



For those of you not familiar with the stunning works of Sally Gabori, I am sure you will become a fan - she is not only an amazing artist, but a woman who has started the art movement in her home of Bentinck Island.

Her works are contemporary, vivid and saturated with the colours of the tropics - one could be forgiven for not recognising this as indigenous art, but it’s a departure that has collectors taking notice.

The international response to Sally’s work has been enormous and with shows in Australia, UK, South Korea, middle East and the US she has won over curators, galleries and major collectors alike.

Born around 1924, Sally Gabori, known also by her tribal name Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, comes from the Bentinck Island of the South Wellesley Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Gabori speaks no English, only her native tongue the Kayardild language, and is now an elder, one of the last surviving keepers of her peoples’ language, traditions, stories and culture.

She has led a mostly traditional lifestyle, growing up with her Kaiadilt people who, until the late 1940s, had very little contact with or interference by white settlers.

This changed in the late 1940s, when many of the communities in the Gulf of Carpentaria were affected by a severe drought.

In 1948, a tidal wave struck the Bentinck Island and the missionaries transported the entire population to Mornington Island.

Gabori moved there with her husband and family.

It was here she bore eleven children and raised them along with several others of her husband’s children to other wives, as is Kaiadilt tradition.

Gabori is now grandmother and great-grandmother of a large, extended family to whom she represents a living connection to people and places of a time gone by.

Her art is a visual record of the beaches, mangroves and saltpans of her native Bentinck Island, and have been collected by The National Gallery of Victoria, Edith Cowan University, the Chartwell, Merenda, Lagerberg-Swift and Marshall Collections, Leeuwin Estate, Harding Family and the Museé du Quai Branly in Paris to name but a few of an ever growing list of collecting institutions.

Throughout her life she has been an accomplished producer of traditional handicrafts made from bush products such as Pandanus fibres and Hibiscus bark woven into string and in 2005 she took the art world by surprise when she wandered into the Mornington Island Arts and Crafts centre and picked up a brush.

On her 4th visit into the Mornington Island Arts and Crafts centre, Sally started to draw on paper.

The art centre coordinator at the time quickly asked her if she wanted to try a canvas and some paint and gave her a small 30cm x 45cm stretched canvas which she painted using a combination of acrylic and chalk pastel.

When she had finished it was obvious that she had that something special that would set her apart.

Her work was so colourful and appealed straight away.

Sally grew more confident as the months went by, her canvases got larger and larger, her use of colour more bold and her abandonment more pronounced, but it wasn’t till after her first solo exhibition in Brisbane at the end of 2005 that she really came of age as an artist.

Her first trip to a capital city, seeing her work on the gallery wall and meeting all the people on the opening night, who told how much they loved her work and having a state line do a short story on ABC TV, all helped her to believe in herself.

Over the subsequent five to seven years she has achieved more than most artists do if they have painted for a lifetime and her work is on public display across Australia.

While the images hold deep significance to Gabori, her peers and family, the broad fascination with her work and artistic development stems, for the wider public, from her unique subject matter.

Many of her works, as captured in their titles, are of the country in which she and her family grew up.

From the moment she first picked up a paintbrush, Gabori has been recording her Kaiadilt country—her land—and its stories.

In Barramundi Story she tells a story of her costal upbringing and life through the bold lines and rich layering of black and white.

The importance of her culture and its stories, combined with her love of paint, have enabled Gabori to produce, for the past seven years, a distinct, influential and acclaimed body of work.

For generations, her country and people have been a muted voice in Australian indigenous history and culture.

Through the boldness of her paintings, this woman, her family, traditions and stories are silent no longer.

Recent, Sally at the ripe old age of 89 years, won the inaugural Rockhampton Art Gallery $50,000 Gold Award.

The latest of a whole host of awards which she is destined to add to, health permitting in the coming years!

.