Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori / Kaiadilt people / Australia c.1924–2015 / Dibirdibi Country 2011 / Synthetic polymer paint on linen / 121.7 x 91.5cm / Gift of the Estate of Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation 2017 / © Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori/Copyright Agency, 2020

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori
Dibirdibi Country 2011

On Display: QAG, Gallery 17

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori (c.1924–2015) came to painting at the age of 81. She was one of a handful of leading artists from Indigenous communities who worked in a bold personal style outside the established traditions of painting country. Others include Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Ginger Riley, Makinti Napanangka, Wakartu Cory Surprise and Nora Wompi.

Gabori is widely acclaimed for her vibrant use of colour depicting the intimate connections between the Kaiadilt people of Bentinck Island, their country and their history.

For her first 23 years, she moved between her family’s main homeland sites, living according to her unbroken ancestral culture. Then, in 1948, following devastating drought, storms and a near 4-metre tidal surge, she and her kin were moved to nearby Mornington Island.

Gabori returned to Bentinck Island whenever possible and maintained a strong connection to her Kaiadilt country through language, song and storytelling, all of which she incorporated into the act of painting.