Mirndiyan Gununa, Mornington Island Arts, Qld
Private Collection, Vic
Sally Gabori first picked up a paint brush 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.
Her paintings are essentially concerned with meaningful sites, known through the artist’s intimate association during a lifetime spent on Bentinck Island. These sites are associated with tidal movement, seasonal change, major climatic events such as drought, and flood, and the presence of plants, sea birds, animals, and aquatic life. Gabori was mindful of the ebb and flow of life over all the seasons that made up her long life. As Djon Mundine eloquently put it. ‘Her works can be thought of as a memory walk, and a mapping of her physical and social memory of Bentinck Island’.*
* Djon Mundine, The Road to Bentinck Island: Sally Gabori, in The Corrigan Collection of Paintings by Sally Gabori, Macmillan Art Publishing, Melbourne, 2015Share