Mirdidingkingathi Juwarrnda (Mrs Gabori)
Born circa 1924 Bentinck Island, Queensland. Died 2015
Currently on display at UTS are a suite of fourteen paintings by Mirdidingkingathi Juwarrnda (Mrs Gabori), on loan to the university from the Corrigan Collection.
Mrs Gabori’s paintings are often titled My Country, depicting Kayardild country, situated on Bentinck Island off the Gulf of Carpentaria where she was born in 1924 or Dibirdibi Country her husband’s country, also on Bentinck Island. Gabori began painting in 2005 at the Mornington Peninsula Arts and Crafts Centre when she was 81 years of age. As an accomplished weaver and holder of traditional songs and stories Gabori was able to begin her painting career with an already developed confidence and skill that is apparent in her strong brushstrokes and bold colours.
Gabori’s paintings are representations of place that reference her tumultuous life, the life of her people and the landscape where she grew up. The only water source on Gabori’s country was decimated by a cyclone in 1948 causing Gabori and her family to move to the local mission on Mornington Peninsula. This movement and separation of people from Bentinck Island began the process of deculturation and loss of language for the Kayardild people.
In the 1970s some Kayardild began visiting Bentinck Island again, in 1986 a small settlement was formed. Gabori occasionally began visiting her country again in the late 80s.
In the ten years Gabori was painting she exhibited nationally and internationally including Personal Structures as part of the 55th Venice Biennale, an international art project focusing on artists working with Time, Space and Existence.
This summary was prepared as part of a UTS ART Education resource on indigenous art in the UTS Art Collection.
More information about indigenous art at UTS can be found on the UTS ART website.