Mornington Island Arts, Qld Cat No. 621/SG/1108
Harding Family Collection, NSW
Sally Gabori first picked up a paintbrush in 2005 at 81 years of age. The Lardil people in the Kaiadilt community had little exposure to fine art, or any comparable form of mark-making, prior to that time. Traditional tools, objects, or bodies were scarcely painted, and the only recorded art that relates these stories was a group of drawings made at the request of ethnologist Norman B Tindale during his expedition to Bentinck Island in 1960, now housed in the South Australian Museum.
Previously known as a weaver of traditional bags, baskets and nets, Gabori became the first Kaiadilt person to paint. Within months she developed both in confidence and technique and was producing four-and-a-half metre paintings crowded with hundreds of concentric circles, as in this work that conjures a frenzied school of fish erupting from the bountiful reef-laden waters around Bentinck Island to feed on smaller fish or other marine creatures at the surface. As each fish breaks the water’s surface a wave radiates from the disruption and, for a few seconds, a circle, or hundreds of them, remain as the memory of the interaction between beings and place. These paintings allude to schools of mullet, queen fish, mackerel or tuna, but never figuratively depict them.Share