THE DEATH OF ABORIGINAL ART GIANT SALLY GABORI

24 March 2015

Indigenous Australian artist and traditional Kaiadilt elder Mirdidingkingathi Juwarrnda (Mrs Sally Gabori) has passed away at the age of ninety-one.

In 2005 Mrs Gabori first captivated the contemporary art world with bold and kinaesthetic paintings that tell the story of Kaiadilt Dulka (Country). Her ascendency as a contemporary artist stemmed from a rich knowledge of place and people; Gabori fused the personal experiences of a lifetime and the beautiful infinity of Aboriginal lore. She was a prolific artist and translated her subject with joyous colour on a large scale, winning critical admiration and participation in major national and international exhibitions. The grand gestures and emotional vitality present in Gabori’s work mirror a life lived with passion and great strength.

The artist’s traditional life took root on Bentinck Island in Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria, and she later interwove this heritage gracefully as she moved between a globalised Australian landscape and the inspiration of home.

Living traditionally in her country she came of age, until her family was forced to relocate due to natural disasters to a Methodist mission on Mornington Island in Lardil country. Later, she was taken as a bride of war after her brother King Alfred was killed.

As is the cyclical nature of existence, Gabori’s inability to return to her homeland in her later years sparked a desire to paint ancestral stories and personal narratives. Mapping memory of place brought universal appreciation for her work, inspiring audiences to reflect on love, loss, longing, passion and pride.

The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art will be holding a major solo exhibition of Mrs Gabori’s artwork in May 2016 in honour and tribute to the artist.

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