Dibirdibi Country Revisited – Celebrating Mrs. Gabori’s Life
Mrs. Gabori became a national phenomenon and her works quickly became treasured and highly sought-after gems as she swept across Australia. Her works have been acquired by all major institutional collections across Australia and globally, her designs were showcased at the Venice Biennale and she has been commissioned on many occasions for public and private installations, the latest of which saw her stunning Tjukurpa come to life in the halls of the Brisbane International airport.
From extremely humble beginnings and until the late 1940s, Mrs. Gabori lived on Bentinck Island with her people, the Kaiadilt, who had remained virtually untouched by any other culture or people group. A drought, a cyclone and contaminated water eventually forced Mrs. Gabori and her people to relocate to the nearby Mornington Island, an upheaval so traumatising that their language has become almost extinct. Nearly fifty despondent and disorienting years later, Mrs. Gabori entered the Mornington Island Arts Centre and began to paint, finding her new voice, a stronger voice than she’d ever known, in the movement of her brush and the broad shapes of colours on her canvases.
The contemporary landscapes of her country, her husband’s country, and her parents’ country are the focus of this exhibition because they best summarise who she was, why she was, and what she has become. The works chosen are in typical Mrs. Gabori style – expansive canvases, bold colours and contemporary expression, retelling stories of her and her family’s country. Although she painted for only eight years, those were the last eight years of her life, as if everything that had happened beforehand had prepared her for this great opportunity to record what no one else knew how to express.
This show is an opportunity to see a living and breathing memory of a disappearing culture and a nationally esteemed Australian Indigenous artist who now lives on in the masterpieces she has left behind for future generations across the world. The exhibition at ReDot Fine Art Gallery will also include works by Mrs. Gabori’s niece, Paula Paul, and other family members, and runs from Wednesday 1st June until Saturday 2nd July 2016, with an opening reception on Wednesday, 8th June 2016 at 6:30pm.